Just hours after announcing that they are expecting their first child, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex kicked off their first full-length foreign tour is Sydney, Australia. This tour will see some 70 engagements over 16 days through four different countries, including the 2018 Invictus Games. It really is quite the debut.
But before we dive in, another piece of baby news has hit the airwaves – the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister, Pippa Matthews, was spotted arriving at hospital with her husband and overnight bags. She is nine months pregnant and by every indication, there’s yet another Cambridge cousin about to make his or her debut! It’s unclear how soon we’ll hear the baby’s gender or name confirmed, but fingers crossed we get the news somehow.
Now, switching back to the other side of the world. Royal reporters in Sydney for the tour have been in overdrive between travel, the baby news and now the kick off of actual engagements. By the sound of it, many went ahead and pulled an all-nighter to keep up with everything. Omid Scobie shared the below of the royal scrum hearing the baby news:
While Chris Ship shared this lovely photo of the Australian sunrise:
And this sweet shot from Blake Nadilo:
Harry and Meghan, meanwhile, were photographed taking a walk in the gardens around Admiralty House, where they’re staying in Sydney. It’s bringing back memories of William and Kate’s visit back in 2014, quite frankly, and I’m not the only one. A few articles have called out that the Oz/NZ tour marked Prince George’s real introduction to the public, while the Prince of Wales and the late Princess Wales brought along a baby William for their own 1983 tour of the country. There’s some nice symmetry to Harry’s own baby news dropping just as he and Meghan touch down for the first time.
So, today. The day’s engagements kicked off with Harry and Meghan at Admiralty House where they were formally received by Australia’s Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and his wife, Lady Cosgrove. They were presented with gifts – a stuffed kangaroo and a mini pair of Ugg boots. Or, as Meghan exclaimed, “Our first baby gift!”
Outside, they posed for photos on the croquet lawn with the Sydney Opera House as a backdrop.
Then it was on to the Taronga Zoo to open the Taronga Institute of Science and Learnings, but really the main focus was shots of Harry and Meghan with koala bears.
From royal reporter Rebecca English’s coverage:
“At Taronga Zoo, the couple were invited to stroke two koalas and their joeys, who were named Harry and Meghan in honour of the royal wedding in May. The Duchess called the animals ‘so, so sweet’, shyly touching a koala named Ruby who sat sleepily on a lower branch in the small, open enclosure.
“The Duke was more forthcoming, reaching to pet the koala with the encouragement of keepers, and admiring their healthy coats and quizzing keeper Suzie MacNamara about their diet and sleeping habits. The couple were also shown wallabies and quokkas in their enclosures, leaning on the zoo’s low fences to admire them and watch them being fed.
Accompanied by the premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian, they spent around five minutes with the koalas, Ruby and Wattle, whose joeys were named Meghan and Harry as a wedding gift from the people of the region. In a private moment away from the cameras, they couple were also given a stuffed toy version of the animal in celebration of their baby news.”
Naturally, small children were on hand to deliver a bouquet of flowers, which I suppose is a de rigueur at a certain point. This is a lovely shot of Meghan though:
Video from Emily Nash of the couple meeting an echinda:
From there, the two traveled by boat to the Sydney Opera House, with Meghan switching from a pair of Stuart Weitzman heels to a pair of still yet to be identified (as of writing this) pair of black flats.
There, the two watched a performance by the Bangarra Dance Theatre:
Outside it was time for the first Australian walkabout, at which point Harry was reunited Daphne Dunne. Ms. Dunne is a 98-year-old Australian war widow who has met the Prince twice before – each time receiving a peck on the cheek. Harry has dubbed her his “favorite Aussie” and taken time to speak with her during two earlier trips to the country in 2015 and 2017. She originally caught his eye while wearing her late husband’s Victoria Cross – you can read more on her interactions with Harry here.
Local coverage of today’s meeting with Meghan:
Today’s fashion saw Meghan debuting an Australian designer, Karen Gee, and his particular dress is called “Blessed,” which feels appropriate in light of the baby news. I love Meghan in white and it was a nice of change from the recent slew of black and navy, so I’m a big fan. It’s simple and basic, but HRH was beaming and the images from the day are exactly what they needed to be.
I’m still waiting for the final word on the flats and coat, but her jewelry is in fact from her mother-in-law. Both the bracelet and the butterfly earrings once belonged to the late Princess of Wales, and I think wearing them on such a happy occasion was a lovely nod. Kate has always done a great job of this, and it’s nice to see Meghan taking a similar approach.
Update: The coat has been ID’d as Martin Grant and the black flats are Rothy’s.
The day’s not over yet – still to come is the reception!