We couldn’t think of a better place to announce the baby, Harry tells Australia

The Duke of Sussex said he and his wife "could not think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby" than Australia.

Kensington Palace revealed that Harry and Meghan's first child is due next spring, on the eve of their first overseas tour together.

The couple were given the first toys for the new arrival, with the parents-to-be handed a soft kangaroo and joey by his Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife, Lady Cosgrove, at a welcoming ceremony at their Admiralty House residence in Sydney, overlooking the harbour.

Royal tour of Australia - Day One
Australia's Governor General Peter Cosgrove gives the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a toy kangaroo – with a baby – at Admiralty House in Sydney (Phil Noble/PA)

It was at the same venue hours later where Harry, addressing an afternoon reception, said: "We couldn't think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby".

In remarks which went from sincere to humorous, the duke spoke of his pleasure at being able to show off Australia to the duchess.

"This is my wife's first visit here so I'm very excited to show her this wonderful country of yours," he said.

"Thank you, Your Excellency and Lady Cosgrove, for giving us your magnificent home for the week. We are inviting all of our mates in Sydney to visit.

"And we also genuinely couldn't think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby, whether it's a boy or a girl, so thank you very very much.

"We are really impressed to see you serving beer and tea at an afternoon reception in true Aussie style."

Harry and Meghan spent their first day in Sydney getting close to wildlife, including meeting two namesake joeys, and were greeted by hundreds of well-wishers outside the famous Opera House after watching an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander modern dance company.

The duchess, wearing an ivory Karen Gee dress with earrings and a bracelet which belonged to the duke's mother, Diana, said "Our first baby gift!" when the Governor General handed her the kangaroo.

The couple were greeted his residence 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 replying: "Thank you so much. We are very excited."

The dignitaries also presented them with Akubras – traditional wide-brimmed Australian hats.

Royal tour of Australia - Day One
The couple also met koalas on the first day of their visit to Australia (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

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 out to pet one 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, which seemed very taken by the royal guests.

The duke seemed concerned about the animals' well-being 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."

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".

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.

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