Rapturous welcome for Harry and Meghan in Melbourne
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex kept the crowds waiting – but were met with a rapturous reception as they arrived in Melbourne for day three of their royal tour in Australia.
Locals waited from as early as 5am in a bid to catch a glimpse of Harry and Meghan as they headed to Victoria as part of their 16-day tour, which will also take in New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga.
Harry and Meghan, who was wearing a navy blue dress by Australian brand Dion Lee with a camel-coloured trench coat and black stilettos, were met by a crowd nearing 5,000 and abandoned their strict scheduling to meet royal fans for 25 minutes.
Gifts, including toys, flags and flowers, were given to the parents-to-be as a group began to sing Stand By Me, the gospel song performed at the royal wedding in May.
One of the larger presents of the day came from Courtney Pistone, 10, who held a large teddy over the barriers and handed it to Meghan for the unborn baby.
She said: “I gave it to her for the nursery.
“I thought it would be suitable because we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl and both boys and girls like bears.”
The duke and duchess stopped to play with five-and-a-half-month-old Harriet Bonaddido and chatted with her mother Jessica.
The 28-year-old said: “As soon as I introduced my daughter to Harry, he said ‘that’s a great name’.
“Maybe they will choose it for their own child, which would be fun.
“Meghan was right behind him and was playfully tickling her toes and said how sweet it was that I’d brought her out today.”
One woman, 19-year-old India Brown, held a sign saying “Been here since 4am, loved you since I was 8” and was visibly emotional when Harry gave her a hug.
Other signs including “Worth the detention” and “Fresh Prince with red hair” were held aloft to the royal party, who made their way through the Royal Botanic Gardens to Government House.
Among those who did not make their way to school was Rhys Pratt, eight, who begged his mother Naomi to take the day off.
He said: “I wanted to come here so badly but my mum said I had to go to school.
“My dad is from Yorkshire in England and I really love Harry and Meghan, so after I promised to make a flag to give to them, my mum said she would take me.”
Harry complimented the flag, saying it was “cool”, and thanked Rhys for coming to meet him.
The couple will visit a school, cafe and then take the tram to the coast where they will help primary school children in a beach clean-up.