Touch down for Day Two of the Royal Tour
It's day two of the Royal Tour, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrived at Dubbo airport on Wednesday morning, to be greeted by 5 year old Luke Vincent.
Harry and Meghan handed out lots of hugs to their party of 150 flag-waving local schoolchildren at the town’s airport. And little Luke, who got a cuddle from Meghan, then became entranced by Harry's beard! The kindergarten pupil at Buningyong Public School couldn't stop stroking the Duke’s facial hair, according to the school’s Principal Anne Van Dartel.
"He got a hug from Meghan and then Harry bent down to speak to him and Luke didn’t give him any choice!" she said. "Luke’s favourite person in the world is Santa Claus, who has a beard. So he rubbed Harry’s beard."
The couple toured the Flying Doctor Service
The royal couple, expecting their first baby in the spring, seemed fascinated as they looked at medical training equipment meant to simulate a pregnant patient, during a naming and unveiling ceremony for the new Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft at Dubbo Airport.
The pair met a hero doctor who had pulled three survivors from a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Marcus Wilson, 47, was was awarded Australia’s Bravery Medal for his actions, and inspired by Prince Harry, Mr Wilson will be taking part in the Invictus Games in the sailing event.
He is now manager of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Broken Hill, about 1500 km from Sydney, having spent 14 years in the military - first as a gunner, then as a medic - before setting up a medical evacuation service for aid workers in Afghanistan.
Meghan and Harry cuddle in Dubbo
The happy couple, who announced news of their impending parenthood on Monday, were characteristically tactile during their trip to the airport, holding hands and linking arms at all opportunities. Meghan, who is thought to be at the start of her second trimester, told fans later in the day that other than feeling a little tired, she's doing well in her pregnancy so far.
Meghan's pregnancy is going 'great'
There's no sign of her tiring, but Meghan revealled so far this tour she's "running on adrenaline" as she undertakes her first tour, pregnant with her first baby. The excited couple visited Mountain View farm to learn about the devastating Australian drought and hosted by the Woodley family, who have been farming there for five generations.
Meghan was clearly enchanted by little13-month-old Ruby Carroll, as they had tea in the garden. After cooing over little Ruby, the Duchess spoke to the toddler’s mother Emily Carroll, 33, about her own pregnancy.
"They both had a little tickle with her [Ruby]," Mrs Carroll said. "She’s normally in bed at 10.30am but we had to stay up for this. She’s done so well. Meghan told me that she’s feeling pretty good so far, which is great, and that she’s running on adrenaline. She said they’re doing 76 engagements in 16 days, with maybe one rest in the middle."
Meghan bakes a cake for farm visit
She's so handy! Meghan decided she couldn't visit a local farming family without taking a gift, so the pregnant royal - embarking on her first tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand - decided to whip up a batch of banana bread in Sydney.
The Woodley family were impressed with the Duchess’ gift of banana bread, baked at Admiralty House last night. "She said if you go to someone’s house you always bring something, so she did. She said she was worried about the bananas, that she’d put too many bananas in it. But the Duke said there’s never too many bananas," said Benita Woodley, 20.
Alice Hall, 25, proclaimed it five stars, giving it full marks for being moist: the highest accolade for baking in their family.
Rain didn't dampen their spirits
Meghan took care of her handsome husband, holding an umbrella over his head as he took to the lectern at Dubbo's Victoria Park to praise the local community's resistance in dealing with recent hard droughts, as the rain poured down. As he was offered an umbrella, Harry joked "I've got my wife". He also quipped that the "rain was a gift" as hundreds of people from the region turned out to see the royal visitors.
The much-needed rain started falling 10 minutes before their arrival and while in a drought, rain can only be good news, it did somewhat ruin the picnic planned.
Harry told the crowd, "You people are the salt of the earth, hard working and as tough as they come. I know that life has not been easy. You have just lived through two years of drought. Despite recent welcome rain, it is going to take a lot more and a long time to recover."
Senior College visit a literal wash out in the rain
When you've been enduring a drought, you have to welcome rain, and that's exactly what Harry and Meghan did as the downpour affected but didn't dampen spirits of the staff and pupils of Dubbo College Senior Campus.
Hundreds of schoolchildren had been ready for a busy outdoor programme of events which had to be abandon due to thunder, lightening and a torrential downpour.
The schoolchildren, from Clontarf Academy, which aims to improve the life skills, self-esteem, and employment prospects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders young men, dashed for cover after the headteacher cancelled the planned outdoor programme. In one of the classrooms before heading outside, Harry spoke about the stigma of mental health.
Meghan and Harry shelter under an umbrella
The sweet couple didn't let the rain bother them, and were happy to shelter together under a big umbrella as they made the most of their wet outing.
The Duchess of Sussex visited the Girls' Academy, which works within the school system to reduce the barriers preventing Indigenous girls from completing their education and reaching their full potential.
Despite a planned session of netball and touch football drills, rain stopped play and the sports demonstrations were abandoned, with pupils rushing over to meet the royal couple under an covered area. Prince Harry and Meghan spent several minutes chatting with pupils, before heading back to the airport and returning to Sydney.