Thousands came to see Harry and Meghan on tour of South Pacific
The couple travelled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.
Harry and Meghan were two of the more famous tourists to visit the South Pacific in 2018 – with thousands coming out to see them on their marathon 16-day tour.
The couple racked up the air miles on their first tour outside the UK and Ireland, wanging wellies in New Zealand, watching traditional dances in Fiji and taking in Bondi Beach in Sydney.
The buzz surrounding the Sussexes’ visit was already high before Kensington Palace announced on the eve of the tour that the couple were expecting a baby next spring.
Meghan’s baby bump caught the attention of many during the trip – and the couple’s interactions with children in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga gave an insight into their parenting style ahead of the arrival of baby Sussex.
One of the more touching moments of the tour – both emotionally and physically – came when five-year-old Joe Young was overwhelmed when greeting the royal visitors in Wellington, New Zealand.
Ten pupils from Houghton Valley School got the chance to meet the couple outside a cafe and Joe rubbed his eyes as the royal party approached.
The duchess kneeled and touched his hand and the duke then went in to tickle Joe’s stomach.
Meghan then cemented the children’s fondness by asking staff to give the children cake from the Maranui Cafe, where the couple had met mental health workers.
Another heartwarming moment came when Luke Vincent stole the show as the couple arrived in the outback city of Dubbo, New South Wales.
The five-year-old reached out for a hug when Harry arrived and started to play with the royal’s beard, with school principal Anne Van Darrel saying: “Luke’s favourite person in the world is Santa Claus, who has a beard. So he rubbed Harry’s beard.”
Outfits were also subject of keen interest throughout the tour with Meghan’s penchant for whites, coats and stripes clearly visible.
But it was also traditional dress gifted to the couple which caught people’s eyes: Harry and Meghan were gifted Korowai cloaks in Rotorua, New Zealand, which symbolises protection, and sported ta’ovala – a mat which is wrapped around the waist and signifies Tongan respect to the higher ranks.
The other fashion choice which raised an eyebrow during the tour was the duke donning some skimpy swimwear – or “budgie smugglers” as they’re known Down Under – over his jeans.
Game on Down Under! Catch all the fun tonight when Dylan Alcott chats to Prince Harry and Aussie Invictus Games competitors Nicole Bradley and Matt Model on Invictus Games Today at 7.40pm— ABC TV + iview (@ABCTV) October 21, 2018
AEDST #ABCyours #IG2018 @KensingtonPalace pic.twitter.com/ClVSwv5S7p
He was handed the outfit by Dylan Alcott, one of the hosts of the Invictus Games coverage, and the duke said: “It doesn’t get any better than that, does it? This type of silky camouflage… only in Australia would you get something like this. It’s so wrong, but it’s wonderful.”
Meghan also got her hands on some traditional Australian wares: an Aussie Rules football.
The sport – known as footy in Victoria – is huge in the state, and Meghan appeared to be bitten by the bug as the couple watched displays from the This Girl Can empowerment campaign.
After some gentle persuasion, the duchess took the ball and laughed nervously as she gingerly passed it to one of the women, adding: “I’m not sure I did it right!”
The league quipped that she should enter the draft and join the league, with one club – Melbourne FC – writing: “If the colours are anything to go by, we know who Meghan’s preferred club is. #MeghantoMelbourne”.
The signs of affection between the Sussexes was also a feature of the tour which caught the eye of photographers and the public.
A heavy rain storm started as the couple arrived to address crowds in Dubbo, with Meghan holding an umbrella for her husband as he spoke of the downpour being a “gift”, while on the last engagement of the tour, Meghan sported Harry’s jacket as the pair strolled hand in hand through the Redwoods Tree Walk in Rotorua.