Harry takes part in cleansing ceremony at sacred lake

The Duke of Sussex dipped his feet into pristine waters and ran sand through his fingers at Lake McKenzie as he learned about Fraser Island’s history.

With pregnant wife Meghan resting, Harry was on his own as he was led on to the sand by Aunty Nai Nai Bird, an elder of the Butchulla people.

The duke took off his shoes as Aunty Nai Nai summoned her ancestors on the winds to ask for their blessing to bring Harry on to traditional lands.

After being granted permission, she then took the duke towards the lake and conducted a cleansing ceremony where a tree branch was used to brush his legs and feet.

Lake McKenzie, known to its traditional owners, the Butchulla people, as Boorangoora, is a sacred site meaning “waters of wisdom”.

Designated as a place of decision-making, the “wise ones” of the tribe gather there to listen to messages sent from the spirits on the breezes.

Harry asked Aunty Nai Nai about the lands and said “thank you” for inviting him to walk on them.

Rangers and indigenous dancers awaited Harry at his next engagement, which was a short journey away at McKenzie’s Jetty.

Narawi Cronin-Mills curtseyed and welcomed the “cool” duke.

The nine-year-old said: “He said thank you and asked me my name.

“He was cool.”

Joe Gala, who made Harry smile when he pushed back his headdress to pose for a photograph, said the visit meant a “great deal”.

Speaking about the absence of the duchess, he said the duke made the motion of a bumpy road and told him “it would be a bit rough going through the island when she is a bit crook (ill)”.

He added: “To have a royal person here to show respect means a great deal to me.”

Kensington Palace said the duchess was resting after a hectic schedule on the 16-day tour and was not unwell.