Meghan wears handmade brooch from 10-year-old wellwisher in Wellington


An aspiring designer gave Meghan a brooch during her first walkabout in New Zealand and was “amazed” to see the duchess pin it on immediately.

Alexandra MacKay, 10, handed the duchess the jewellery in the form of a red rose with gold accents as the couple met crowds outside the National War Memorial in Wellington.

The couple were at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, where they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, and the duke was presented with a Badge in Gold by the Royal New Zealand
Returned and Services’ Association (RSA) to recognise his work with veterans.

Under cloudy skies and a chilly wind in Wellington, the first stop on the Sussexes’ trip to New Zealand, a sea of smartphones greeted the parents-to-be as they made their way down the steps and towards the crowds.

Alexandra, along with friend Rebecca Sainsbury, handed the duchess the brooch which she held in her hands for a couple of seconds before attaching it to her Karen Walker trench coat.

Royal tour of New Zealand – Day One
Royal tour of New Zealand – Day One

She said: “It felt really amazing, it felt really good to see her put it on.

“I said, ‘It’s really nice to meet you’, and then we gave her the brooch.

“She said, ‘Wow, how did you make it? How long did it take?’”

“I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up – this is a good start.”

Also among the crowd was Jan Richardson who opted for a more direct approach when asking the duke and duchess for a picture.

Mrs Richardson, who was there with Sophie Hubbard and Hope Watson, both 10, said: “I decided to be quite blunt and asked three times, ‘Can I get a photo, can I get a photo?’

“Harry said, ‘Yeah, sure!’

“Meghan started to talk to them and I thought I’m just going to ask.

“We’ve been here since 8 o’clock. There was a contemplation about staying overnight for the fun of it.”

Sophie Hubbard and Hope Watson, both 10, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Sophie Hubbard and Hope Watson, both 10, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Hope said: “First when they got close I did a lot of happy crying and then they both shook my hand and we got a picture with them.”

Harry Smith was holding a sign reading “Hi Harry, I’m Harry” and the duke came over for a chat.

The seven-year-old said: “He said, ‘You’ve got a redhead too – he’s the best redhead I’ve met.”

The cheers and screams from the walkabout were a sharp contrast to the sombre moments previously as the Sussexes paid their respects at the war memorial.

A small number of protesters chanted “No more war” as the duke and duchess climbed the steps to the memorial which commemorates the 300,000 New Zealanders which served their country.

Both Harry and Meghan laid fern fronds on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, then laid a wreath before heading into the building where Harry was given the medal by RSA national president Barry ‘BJ’ Clark, with the duchess pinning it on her husband.

Royal tour of New Zealand – Day One
Royal tour of New Zealand – Day One

The couple were then shown the UK War Memorial, designed to show the trunks of the Royal Oak and Pohutakawa trees intertwining to form a single canopy.

The memorial, which features stained glass leaves and has the silhouette of a soldier between the branches, was unveiled by then-foreign secretary Boris Johnson in July 2017.