Meghan & Harry’s magical tour
Britain’s coolest royals delighted the public on a whirlwind tour of their dukedom – and Australia’s next!
THEY came, they saw, they smiled, they conquered – and if this was a sign of what’s to come as they get stuck into the nitty-gritty of royal duty, it will be magic all the way. Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, charmed everyone from young to old when they embarked on their first official joint visit of their dukedom, exuding love and warmth as they seemed unable to keep their eyes – or their hands – off each other.
The couple also opened their hearts to the adoring public, getting up close and personal with the clamouring crowds on their whirlwind meet-and-greet through Chichester, Bognor Regis, Brighton and Peacehaven – the main towns in the county of Sussex.
The flame-haired prince was every inch the son of the People’s Princess on the day, shaking every hand he could find and even gallantly kissing the hand of an elderly woman.
And Meghan? Well, she dazzled, flashing her megawatt smile, listening intently when spoken to and chatting away as if to the royal manner born.
“She was so relaxed and friendly and Harry seemed quite chilled,” Chichester student Kieran McNair said after meeting them. “They were wonderful.”
The mini-tour was yet another example of how Harry (34) and Meghan (37) are breathing new life into the monarchy – and a sign they’re more than up for their first mega-test: a demanding two-week, 76-engagement tour of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga, which kicks off on 16 October.
The trip Down Under will culminate in their appearance at Harry’s passion project, the Invictus Games, a multisport event featuring men and women who have been wounded while serving in the armed services. This year it takes place in Sydney, Australia.
The 2017 games was one of the first times Harry and Meghan appeared in public together, sending the world into a frenzy. This time they’ll be there as husband and wife – and one of the most famous couples in the world.
Those in the know say Meghan is a little apprehensive about the upcoming tour.
“This is her first tour and it’s all new and quite daunting,” a palace aide told Hello! magazine.
But the powers that be seem confident the duchess will do just fine, and have scheduled a few engagements for her to attend without Harry at her side.
“She’s a confident speaker,” the aide says. “It’s only natural at some of the events she’s doing by herself that she’d want to speak.”
The tour is going to be Meghan’s chance to shine, royal biographer Ingrid Seward told Us Weekly magazine.
“She knows she’ll be centre stage and everyone is going to want to meet her. It will be her biggest part yet. I’m absolutely confident she’ll be very, very good.”
WHEN the madness of the first tour is over, Meghan and Harry will finally have a new place in which to kick back for much-needed downtime. Until now the couple and their two dogs – Guy, Meghan’s beagle from the US, and Oz, their new Labrador – have been living in Harry’s former bachelor pad, Nottingham Cottage on the Kensington Palace grounds in London.
But they’ll have a lot more space to spread out in now the renovations have been completed on Apartment 1 on the west side of the palace property.
The scaffolding and white tarpaulin that have obscured the building for several months have been removed and the Sussexes and their pooches are believed to be moving in soon.
The £1,4 million (R27,3 million) refurbishment included repairs to the roof and saw the windows replaced, according to Britain’s Daily Mail.
The move means Harry and Meghan will be right next door to Prince William, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge (both 36), and their three tots, Prince George (5), Princess Charlotte (3) and Prince Louis (5 months). The couples won’t even have to venture outside if they fancy popping over for a cuppa as their apartments have an interconnecting door. The apartment was previously home to the queen’s cousin Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (74), and his wife, Birgitte (72), whose three children are now adults – so when they offered to vacate Apartment 1 in favour of something smaller, Harry was thrilled, sources say.
The grand building is certainly bigger than the two-bedroom cottage Harry and Meghan are used to. With the manor’s 21 rooms, they’ll have plenty of space to fill.
WHAT THEIR BODY LANGUAGE SAYS
William and Kate have had the odd public display of affection – a hand hold here, a little back rub there. But Harry and Meghan have taken things to the next level and all indications are these tosigh-for moments are fast becoming the new norm.
Well, they’re newlyweds after all – and, their infatuation with each other is 100% genuine, according to South African body language expert Denise Bjorkman.
“This was their private world made public,” she tells YOU soon after the Sussex tour. “Touches between the two were frequent, spontaneous and even secretive – an indication of a happy bond between them.”
Even the way they walked – side by side, in step with each other– shows their connection. “They’re mentally and
emotionally in sync,” Bjorkman adds.
“The freedom to touch so freely in public is a break from tradition in the royal family. They’re clearly carving out their own rules.”
It’s obvious Harry was in his element during their whistle-stop tour, Bjorkman says. “He’s comfortable with crowds, working at a variety of levels and at ease with everyday conversations.
“This he no doubt learnt from his mother, Princess Diana, who often took her two children with her to meet-andgreets, particularly when it involved spending time with those less fortunate,” she adds.
“Diana touched frequently, remained within the confined space of the people she met, embraced and sat with them to be on an equal level.”
Harry’s behaviour is remarkably similar. “He bends down to their level so he can make eye contact. High fives follow and he gets into serious conversation, asks difficult questions and gives fatherly advice.”
It’s displays like this that indicate Harry is definitely ready to be a dad, she adds.
Despite her Hollywood polish and obvious charm, former Suits star Meghan didn’t quite match her husband in the ease with which he connected with the bystanders.
“Meghan is sweet and warm in her communication style. Her facial muscles are relaxed and mobile when necessary, sending messages of authenticity,” Bjorkman says. “But she lacks Harry’s ease.”
Still, as the day wore on, Meghan became increasingly sure of herself.
“She started with small steps next to Harry’s longer strides and as the tour progressed her stride increased together with her sense of comfort.”
And with the Down Under tour coming up there will be plenty of opportunity to build on that confidence.