Harry and pregnant Meghan get baby gifts, meet koalas Down Under

Harry and pregnant Meghan get baby gifts, meet koalas Down Under
Expectant couple Harry and Meghan met a koala named Ruby and its joey - called Meghan - during a visit to Taronga Zoo
PHOTO: AFP

British royals Harry and Meghan received baby gifts, met a koala couple and posed in front of Sydney's dazzling Opera House Tuesday, on their first public outing since announcing they are to become parents.

The happy prince and his US-born wife laughed as they were given a pair of Australian baby Ugg boots from the country's governor general, watched eucalyptus-munching koalas at the zoo and took a boat ride across Sydney Harbour as they began a lengthy tour of the Pacific.

Meghan, wearing a tight white dress by Australian designer Karen Gee, showed few signs of having a baby bump, but smiled broadly as she stepped back into the limelight -- posing against the backdrop of the Opera House sails, which gleamed in the spring sunshine.

Shortly after the appearance, Gee's website was down, apparently due to the volume of traffic it was receiving.

Meghan was wearing a Karen Gee dress
Photo: AFP

 

At the foot of the Opera House a crowd of hundreds pressed against security fences for a royal outdoor meet-and-greet, waving Australian flags, assorted pictures and carrying human-size koala toys, all under the gaze of police snipers and close protection officers.

"I've been following them since the wedding," 90-year-old retiree Edward Atkinson told AFP, adding that he would be looking out for any signs of Meghan's pregnancy.

"I want to see how she interacts with the crowd," added Atkinson, who saw Harry's mother Princess Diana when she visited Australia for the country's bicentenary celebrations in January 1988.

Strike a posie: Meghan has been presented with gifts at every turn from people young and old

Photo:AFP

 

This royal couple are on a 16-day tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga that had already been keenly watched but is now set to be a media frenzy that will test Australia's large contingent of royal-sceptic republicans.

Shortly after the pair stepped off the plane on Monday, Kensington Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II's 34-year-old grandson and the 37-year-old actress are "expecting a baby in the spring of 2019", triggering a chorus of coos and rampant tabloid speculation about baby names.

"What fantastic news!" tweeted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. "Australia is thrilled for you both. Looking forward to sharing in the joy during your stay down under."

The queen was said to be "delighted", British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted her "warmest congratulations", and Meghan's mother Doria Ragland said she was "very happy about this lovely news".

British Royal family

Photo: AFP

As TV stations in the English-speaking world broke into their regular coverage, Google saw a spike in searches for "when is spring?" -- the answer in Britain is from March until May or June -- and newspapers mused over what the baby, who will become either an earl or lady, will be called.

The bookies' instant pick was Diana -- the name of the late princess who was mother to both Prince Harry and his older brother Prince William -- along with Arthur and Alice.

The celebrity couple can expect a warm welcome on their tour, even if polls show half of Australians would like to ditch British monarchs as their country's head of state.

- American princess -

Kensington palace said they did not expect any changes to the trip schedule, although Meghan is not expected to join Harry in scaling the Sydney Harbour Bridge to mark the start of the Invictus Games later in the week.

Harry and Meghan posed for the obligatory photo in front of Sydney Opera House with Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and his wife
Photo: AFP

 

They are still expected to visit Fiji and Tonga despite a notice advising pregnant women to stay away because of the Zika virus.

The decision came after consultations with doctors, Kensington Palace said.

The BBC's royal correspondent said scrutiny will only intensify with the announcement Meghan is expecting.

"This is now the duchess's pregnancy tour -- every step of the way she will be greeted with a new level of excitement and with some degree of concern," the BBC's Jonny Dymond wrote.

Meghan made her name in acting as savvy paralegal Rachel Zane in the US television legal drama "Suits", a world far removed from Buckingham Palace.

The royal couple were treated to glorious spring sunshine as they strolled around Sydney

Photo: AFP

Her first steps as a British royal have been cautious, immaculately scripted and well received. It is all but mandatory for a major royal to have a charity project, and Meghan's choice addressed the biggest tragedy to befall Britain in the past years.

The June 2017, the Grenfell Tower fire in London killed 71 people and raised uncomfortable questions about the government's approach to low income families who lived there.

Meghan wrote the foreword to the recipe collection entitled "Together: Our Community Cookbook", produced by women who suffered in the blaze.

Britons also swooned after seeing Meghan nonchalantly closing her own car door at her first solo engagement last month in London.

Baby bump on show as Meghan and Prince Harry go on Pacific tour

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    Prince Harry and Meghan arrived in Wellington Sunday to a traditional Maori welcome, an official reception disrupted by a fire alarm and a rock star reception during a public walkabout.

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    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on the last leg of a 16-day, four-nation tour which was timed to coincide with the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney.

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    The royals held hands as they left the aircraft where they were greeted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and mingled with the Invictus athletes before heading to a reception at the residence of the Governor-General of New Zealand Patsy Reddy.

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    They were welcomed to Government House with a traditional haka and performed a hongi greeting with indigenous Maori elders, in which they pressed noses together.

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    There were tears and applause as the royal couple were showered with gifts, including a New Zealand 'Buzzy Bee' toy, which Harry held aloft to the delight of the crowd.

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    Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, meet participants of Fluro Friday, an event organized by surfing community OneWave tackling mental health issues, during their visit to Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia October 19, 2018.

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    Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, meet participants of Fluro Friday, an event organized by surfing community OneWave tackling mental health issues, during their visit to Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia October 19, 2018.

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    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet a Koala called Ruby during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney on the first day of the Royal couple's visit to Australia October 16, 2018. Harry and Meghan will take part in 76 engagements in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand over their 16-day trip to the Pacific region.

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    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney on the first day of the Royal couple's visit to Australia Tuesday October 16, 2018. Harry and Meghan will take part in 76 engagements in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand over their 16-day trip to the Pacific region.

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    Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex walk during a visit at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, October 16, 2018.

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    Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex sign the visitor book at Government House, alongside Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau and her husband Anthony Howard at a reception given by the Governor of Victoria, at Government House during their visit to Melbourne, Australia, October 18, 2018.

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    ritain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react after starting model Formula 1 cars at a demonstration by Formula 1 in Schools, at a reception given by the Governor of Victoria, at Government House during their visit to Melbourne, Australia, October 18, 2018.

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    Britain's Prince Harry meets Jacob Thomas (L) at a reception given by the Governor of Victoria, at Government House during a visit to Melbourne, Australia, October 18, 2018.

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    Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attends a reception given by the Governor of Victoria, at Government House during the the royal couple's visit to Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, October 18, 2018.

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    Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, strokes a guide dog at a reception given by the Governor of Victoria, at Government House during the the royal couple's visit to Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, October 18, 2018.

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    Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex with Meghan Markle the Duchess of Sussex on Day Three of their tour of Australia , the couple visited a beach at Melbourne and joined a clean up operation October 18, 2018.

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    Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex with Meghan Markle the Duchess of Sussex on Day Three of their tour of Australia , the couple visited a beach at Melbourne and joined a clean up operation October 18, 2018.

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    Britain's Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex meets CEO of the Man Cave Hunter Johnson (second left) at a reception given by the Governor of Victoria, at Government House during their visit to Melbourne, on the third day of the royal couple's visit to Australia Thursday October 18, 2018.

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    Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex watch aboriginal dances at Victoria Park in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia, 17 October 2018. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on a three-week tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Fiji and will be in Sydney on 20 October to launch the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 sport competition. As the couple arrived in Australia, they announced that the Duchess of Sussex is pregnant and they are expecting a child next spring.

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    Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex look at a medical training aid designed to simulate a baby in an incubator as they attend the naming and unveiling of a new Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft at Dubbo City Regional Airport, in Dubbo, New South Wales, on the second day of the royal couple's visit to Australia.Wednesday October 17, 2018.

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    Britain's Prince Harry, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex unveil a new Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft at Dubbo City Regional Airport, in Dubbo, New South Wales, on the second day of the royal couple's visit to Australia. Wednesday October 17, 2018.

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    Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is seen during an afternoon reception hosted by the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove, in Sydney, Australia, October 16, 2018.

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