In­side Harry and Meghan’s Aussie love story

On her royal tour de­but the el­e­gant, gen­tle Duchess of Sus­sex touched down with a won­der­ful sur­prise and left hav­ing rev­o­lu­tionised the monar­chy. Juliet Rieden gives the in­side story on Meghan and Harry’s dra­matic group hug.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents -

From the mo­ment they ar­rived, it was clear this royal visit was go­ing to break new ground. The Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex had hoped to slip into Syd­ney qui­etly a day be­fore of cial pro­ceed­ings and chill out at Ad­mi­ralty House, the Gov­er­nor-Gen­eral’s home he and his wife had kindly turned over to Harry and Meghan for the tour. In­stead, the cou­ple was greeted with a posse of TV cam­eras, re­porters and long lenses fo­cussed on in­com­ing planes.

Meghan ap­peared, cu­ri­ously hold­ing fold­ers of pa­per­work in front of her stom­ach, and im­me­di­ately a baby bump frenzy swept through so­cial me­dia. It’s pos­si­ble the royal cou­ple hoped to wait a lit­tle longer to share their happy news, but the only way to fo­cus the tour back on the In­vic­tus Games and the im­por­tant ini­tia­tives the Sus­sexes had as­sid­u­ously hand-picked, was to let the world in on their se­cret.

I was in the royal rota me­dia brie ng when Kens­ing­ton Palace sur­prised ev­ery­one with the cou­ple’s state­ment. “Their Royal High­nesses The Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex are very pleased to an­nounce that The Duchess of Sus­sex is ex­pect­ing a baby in the [UK] Spring of 2019.” What!

From this mo­ment on the tour took ight, spi­ralling into a strato­sphere of fevered pop­u­lar­ity as Meghan and Harry, hand in hand, gaz­ing into each other’s eyes, love­struck par­ents-to-be, took Aus­tralia by storm – of­ten with a side or­der of thun­der …

Prince Harry has al­ways been pop­u­lar over here. His laid-back nat­u­ral­ness, pas­sion and sense of hu­mour make him seem like one of us, as 12-year-old Felix in Mel­bourne told me af­ter chat­ting to the royal on a tram jour­ney: “If I didn’t al­ready

know he was a prince, I would think he was a top Aussie bloke, down-to-earth and nor­mal.”

And now our lar­rikin Peo­ple’s Prince was to be the dad we all knew he longed to be, and over the next week Aus­tralia reached a fever pitch of ex­cite­ment, with crowds turn­ing out in the sort of num­bers we last saw back in the 1980s when Harry’s mum, Diana, Princess of Wales, won our hearts. In Dubbo there were 10,000 at the pub­lic pic­nic and al­though they were soaked by sheet­ing rain, their joy at hav­ing Harry and Meghan in their midst was pal­pa­ble.

But as I fol­lowed the royal love­birds around Aus­tralia, it was clear this ex­tra­or­di­nary re­ac­tion wasn’t just about Harry; there was some­thing else go­ing on.

Meghan, the for­mer Suits ac­tress, with her soft Amer­i­can ac­cent, touchy-feely warmth, un­ques­tion­ing be­lief women can and should do any­thing they want to do and bira­cial back­ground, was rewrit­ing the royal rule­book and in­spir­ing a new group of young peo­ple.

Sabrim Nayawela is a net­baller and one of the women from VicHealth’s This Girl Can sport­ing ini­tia­tive who put on a dis­play for the Duchess in Mel­bourne. She came to Aus­tralia from South Su­dan at the age of ve and has strug­gled to over­come bar­ri­ers – “peo­ple judge me with­out even know­ing me,” she ex­plained. For Sabrim, hav­ing a bira­cial Amer­i­can in the royal fam­ily was kind of in­cred­i­ble. “Meghan has the op­por­tu­nity to have an im­pact on women’s lives. It’s fan­tas­tic to see some sort of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in a po­si­tion of power. She’s a mul­ti­cul­tural role model for me.”

Sabrim wasn’t alone. In Dubbo, 17-year-old Tiarnie McBride was bub­bling over with a sense of be­long­ing, af­ter talk­ing to Meghan at her school. “For us as Abo­rig­i­nal girls, her be­ing of a dif­fer­ent race and be­ing a royal shows us any­one can be ac­cepted.”

With the new Duchess of Sus­sex a rev­o­lu­tion is hap­pen­ing. It’s no won­der

Prince Harry looks so proud.

Above: The royal cou­ple de­lighted ev­ery­one with their baby news. Right: Gover­norGen­eral Sir Peter Cos­grove hosted the Sus­sexes at Ad­mi­ralty House and pre­sented baby gifts. Be­low: Meet­ing war widow Daphne Dunne at the Opera House.

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