Rock star reception as Harry and Meghan start last leg of Pacific tour

Rock star reception as Harry and Meghan start last leg of Pacific tour
PHOTO: Reuters

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.

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.

They flew in from Sydney on a Royal New Zealand Air Force flight carrying the Kiwi team who took part in the Games, an Olympic style sporting event for wounded soldiers that Prince Harry helped found.

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.

The visibly pregnant duchess, with her hair in a bun, was wearing a black dress by ASOS Maternity and a calf-length brown chequered coat by Karen Walker, having changed during the three-hour flight from the burgundy dress she wore when boarding in Sydney.

CaptionPhoto: Credits

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.

After visiting a newly unveiled UK War Memorial and laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier the royals received an excited reception as they went on a walkabout among thousands of fans, many screaming and with some draped in Union Jack flags and others wearing an array of tiaras.

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.

"I can't believe this has happened, I can't believe that I met the royals," said Victoria O'Brien, still sobbing several minutes after the royal couple had moved past her.

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.

  • Open gallery

    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.

  • Open gallery

    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.

  • Open gallery

    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.

  • Open gallery

    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.

  • Open gallery

    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.

  • Open gallery

    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.

The royals then returned to Government House for meetings with Ardern and the leader of the opposition Simon Bridges, ahead of a reception hosted by the Governor-General marking the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage.

Just before Bridges was to met the prince a fire alarm went off, forcing the evacuation of the building and leaving dozens of women who were invited to the reception standing outside in the cold in their evening outfits, many holding drinks.

A Government House representative later said it was a false alarm caused by a vegetable steamer in the kitchen.

Harry and Meghan's itinerary over the following three days includes a hike and barbecue in the Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island, a reception with Ardern at Auckland War Memorial Museum and a visit to the popular North Island tourist resort of Rotorua.

The couple will then head back to Auckland before flying out on Thursday to end a marathon tour which also took in Fiji and Tonga.

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