Harry and Meghan receive first baby gifts as they begin royal tour in Sydney

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been given the first toys for their unborn baby during the opening day of their tour in Australia.

Harry and Meghan were also introduced to their namesake koalas, were greeted by thousands of well-wishers outside the iconic Sydney Opera House and watched a dance performance on the first day of a 16-day tour.

The couple, who announced on Monday they are expecting their first baby next spring, will also take in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga on their first official trip outside the UK and Ireland as a married couple.

Royal tour of Australia – Day One
Royal tour of Australia – Day One

Kensington Palace announced the news on the eve of the tour, and the parents-to-be received a soft kangaroo and joey from his Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife, Lady Cosgrove.

“Our first baby gift!” Meghan, who was wearing an ivory Karen Gee dress, said, while Harry was handed a pair of Ugg boots, which he described as “awesome”.

The couple were greeted at Admiralty House by flag-bearing representatives from the 18 countries who will be competing at the Invictus Games in Sydney.

Several of them congratulated the couple on their baby news, with Meghan, who was wearing a bracelet and earrings which belonged to Diana, replying: “Thank you so much. We are very excited.”

The dignitaries also presented Harry and Meghan with Akubras – traditional wide-brimmed Australian hats – which were gifted to them for their wedding in May.

At Taronga Zoo, the couple got the chance to meet Harry and Meghan, two joeys which were named after the couple to mark their nuptials earlier in the year.

Meghan said the koalas were “so, so sweet”, while Harry reached to pet one of the animals and asked about their diet and sleeping habits.

The pair also encountered other wildlife at the zoo on the shores of Sydney Harbour, with staff showing off wallabies, quokkas and a short-legged echidna, who seemed very taken by the royal guests.

The duke seemed concerned about the animal’s wellbeing in a room full of cameras, asking of its nose: “The snot, is that a good thing or stress?”

“It’s OK, he’s drooling out of excitement,” the scientists told him. “And he’s just been fed.”

Royal tour of Australia – Day One
Royal tour of Australia – Day One

The duke opened the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning before the couple got the chance to take in the sights of the city on a boat ride across the harbour to the Opera House.

There, they spent more than the allotted 20 minutes greeting crowds in the sunshine, with Harry spotting one familiar face in the crowd.

After finding 98-year-old Daphne Dunne in the crowd of around 2,000 people, he said: “I was looking for you earlier and hoped you’d be here, it’s so good to see you again.”

Mrs Dunne, who saw Harry during his 2015 and 2017 visits to Australia, was able to congratulate both the duke and duchess on their baby news, with Meghan saying that next time the couple were in Australia they “might have our little one with us”.

Crowds wait for a glimpse of Harry and Meghan at the Opera House pic.twitter.com/2Ap2r0JHHe

— Alexander Britton (@adbritton) October 16, 2018

War widow Mrs Dunne’s first husband, Lieutenant Albert Chowne, died aged 25 in 1945 during an attack on a Japanese machine gun post in Papua New Guinea.

He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross which Mrs Dunne was wearing when she first met Harry.

Meghan said: “I’m so glad I got to meet you. Harry has told me all about you and your special bond, it’s so lovely you came to see us, thank you.”

Mrs Dunne said: “It was lovely to meet the duchess, Meghan. Harry is a wonderful man and I’m so happy he had found happiness, they both deserve the absolute world together.”

On Wednesday Australia time, the couple will travel to Dubbo in New South Wales where they will celebrate 90 years of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.