Two 10-year-olds who waited hours for a glimpse of Harry and Meghan as they arrived in New Zealand got more than they bargained for when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex agreed to pose for a picture.
Sophie Hubbard and Hope Watson were among the hundreds of wellwishers who packed the grounds of the National War Memorial in Wellington, the first stop for the royal couple in New Zealand.
The mother and father-to-be arrived in the country from Sydney for the final stretch of their marathon 16-day tour which has also seen them visit Fiji and Tonga.
After laying a wreath at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, the duke and duchess then made their way to the crowds with Jan Richardson opting for a direct approach when asking for a picture.
She 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.”
The couple were given gifts including a Buzzy Bee – a popular toy from New Zealand – which Harry held in celebration after it was passed down through the rows of crowds.
Pictures of Harry’s brother, the Duke of Cambridge, playing with the toy during the visit of the Prince of Wales and Diana in 1983 made front pages around the world.
Another royal fan with a gift was Alexandra MacKay, 10, who handed the duchess a homemade red rose brooch with gold accent which she immediately attached to her Karen Walker trench coat.
Alexandra, an aspiring designer, said: “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.”
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.
Both Harry and Meghan laid fern fronds on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, then laid a wreath before heading into the building.
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.
Earlier in the day, the couple had received a traditional welcome to New Zealand when they rubbed noses with Maori elders on the grounds of Government House.
🇬🇧🇳🇿Viewing the UK Memorial in Wellington, commissioned to honour the shared sacrifices by New Zealanders and Britons in conflicts over the past century.— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) October 28, 2018
The design takes the form of the UK and New Zealand’s most iconic trees, a Royal Oak and a Pōhutakawa. #RoyalVisitNZ pic.twitter.com/Dqv46xi28C
The couple also watched the fearsome haka and met schoolchildren, with the duchess saying the weather in Windy Wellington had left her cold.
Governor-General (Dame) Pasty Reddy welcomed the royals to her home and, as they stepped onto the grass in front of the colonial building, the Maori welcome or Powhiri began.
Harry, 34, and Meghan were first met by the two most senior Maori elders – kaumatua Piri Sciascia and Kuia, Te Ripowai Higgins.
The royals performed a hongi – or nose rub – with Professor Sciascia and Mrs Higgins as the Royal New Zealand Air Force band played.
Then Harry was formally challenged by three Maori warriors to see if he was acceptable to be invited in.
Carrying a spear the chief warrior, Warrant Officer (2nd class) Aaron Morrison from the New Zealand Army, performed an elaborate dance and placed a dart onto the ground.
Keeping his eyes fixed on the three men, Harry knelt down to pick up the dart and accepted their challenge.
Officer Morrison then shouted a greeting and hit his leg to signify Harry was accepted and could come forward for the rest of the elders to perform a haka.
The couple appeared to enjoy the impressive haka – a traditional Maori war dance that is used on the battlefield as well as when groups come together in peace.
Once it had finished, the royals showed off their hongi skills again, by greeting Officer Morrison and Officer Nikau, as well as the traditional handshake.
Following the Pōwhiri, The Duke of Sussex takes part in the Wero, an ancient warrior tradition of the Māori used to determine whether visitors have come in peace or with hostile intent. #RoyalVisitNZ pic.twitter.com/hPV5ge0NiR— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) October 28, 2018
The boys of Hato Paora school then performed a second haka – just as fearsome as the traditionally dressed Maori elders despite being in their school uniforms.
Harry was then led to the podium in the middle of their garden for a 21 gun salute, and then inspected the troops from New Zealand’s army, navy and Air Force.
On Monday, the couple will travel to Abel Tasman National Park for a series of engagements about conservation.