Meghan Markle visits Uvalde to pay respects to shooting victims
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, places flowers at a makeshift memorial outside Uvalde County Courthouse after the mass shooting at an elementary school(AFP)

Meghan Markle, the wife of Britain's Prince Harry, on Thursday made an unannounced visit to the Texas town of Uvalde to pay her respects to the victims of an elementary school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

The 40-year-old Duchess of Sussex -- wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a blue baseball cap -- reached down with her head bowed and placed flowers at a makeshift memorial outside the courthouse in Uvalde.

She also walked around the memorial, looking at the white crosses bearing the names of the victims of Tuesday's carnage.

A spokesperson for Markle said the duchess had been visiting Uvalde in a personal capacity and as a mother, to offer her condolences and support for a grieving community.

Harry and his wife quit royal life and moved to North America two years ago. They now live in California with their two children.

Buckingham Palace announced this month the couple would not be present for official celebrations of Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee on June 2.