Coffs kid gets roy­ally close

Son of ten­nis player meets Prince Harry

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS - Jack Houghton, The Daily Tele­graph and Kea­gan El­der

A YOUNG Coffs Har­bour boy has be­come one of the first peo­ple to meet Prince Harry and his new lover Meghan Markle.

With cam­eras flash­ing and the world’s me­dia watch­ing their ev­ery move, the cou­ple held hands as they made their first of­fi­cial ap­pear­ance to­gether at the In­vic­tus Games in Toronto.

The “in love” pair took a seat next to 10-year-old Bai­ley Lawler at the semi-fi­nals of the Wheel­chair Ten­nis and Suits star Ms Markle in­tro­duced her­self and shook his hand.

It was a mo­ment that pro­pelled the Coffs boy into in­ter­na­tional spot­light.

Bai­ley was in Canada to watch his fa­ther Sean Lawler com­pete in wheel­chair ten­nis but his mother ad­mit­ted they missed most of the match chat­ting with the royal.

Starstruck mum Kylie Lawler said the cou­ple were very re­laxed and took to time to chat to her and Bai­ley.

“She was ex­cited to be here and lovely,” she told Bri­tish me­dia.

“They seemed re­ally re­laxed as a cou­ple.

“I missed half the game be­cause we were chit-chat­ting. I don’t think my hus­band will for­give me.”

Mrs Lawler, whose hus­band Sean played for the Aus­tralian team, told the Tele­graph UK that she too had learned they would be joined by the Prince just 30 min­utes be­fore the cou­ple ap­peared on court.

Mrs Lawler is re­ported to have sent Bai­ley to change his shirt, to smarten his look for Prince Harry and Ms Markle.

For­mer ri­fle­man Sean Lawler suf­fered an in­jury dur­ing a train­ing ac­ci­dent in the Aus­tralian De­fence Force.

He now works as a clerk for the ADF and is com­pet­ing in golf, swim­ming and ten­nis.

Mr Lawler and Bai­ley train at the West­side Ten­nis Club.

Un­for­tu­nately, Aus­tralia lost to New Zealand in the semi-fi­nal.

Bai­ley is not the first Coffs lo­cal to have met the Prince at the In­vic­tus Games.

Balkans War veteran Scott Sec­combe fondly re­mem­bered his first time meet­ing him in 2014 at the In­vic­tus Games in Lon­don.

Mr Sec­combe made it his royal mis­sion to get a selfie with the Prince.

“The Prince is so ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one at the games, he lit­er­ally goes out of his way to say g’day,” Mr Sec­combe said.

He said the Prince was very gen­uine and per­sonal, and “loves the Aus­tralians”.

“There’s more to the bloke then just a photo op­por­tu­nity.”

Mr Sec­combe went on to meet Prince Harry on two other oc­ca­sions in 2015 and 2016 and joked he could be con­sid­ered a stalker.

He said Bai­ley meet­ing the Prince had not stolen his thun­der or brag­ging rights but was a real priv­i­lege.

I missed half the game be­cause we were chit-chat­ting. I don’t think my hus­band will for­give me. — Kylie Lawler

Bai­ley Lawler (right) met Prince Harry and his girl­friend Meghan Markle.

Scott Sec­combe (right) made it his royal mis­sion to meet Prince Harry.

Scott Sec­combe com­peted in shot put in pre­vi­ous In­vic­tus Games.

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