The Sussex Team

Welcome to the country! Meghan and Harry head to Dubbo

Meghan and Harry kicked out day two of their tour flying to the town of Dubbo, located around 300 kilometers northwest of Sydney.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

Many people were surprised that Meghan and Harry chose to visit the city – but the reason goes well beyond the modern royals – dating back to 1920 where Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, visited the city to pay tribute to the residents who served in World War I. And back in 1954, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip paid a visit to the city, marking the first time the reigning monarch visited the town.

After their official greeting at the plane, they arrived in, they were greeted by the Mayor of Dubbo Region Councillor Ben Shields. As they made their way down the line of people, Meghan and Harry each greeted them with a sincere smile and handshake. Meghan and Harry then walked across the airport to the nearby Royal Flying Doctors Service hangar, meeting children from local public schools.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

… including one little boy who was particularly enthralled with Harry. As soon as Harry greeted 6-year-old Luke Vincent of Buninyong Public School, the young boy leapt into his arms for a giant hug before playfully caressing his face and tugging at his beard.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

As Harry laughed at the encounter, Meghan quickly came over to meet the little boy and was also greeted with a warm hug.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

But Vincent could not get enough of Harry and rushed back over to him and gave him a hug, a kiss, and gently pet his head. Anne Van Dartel, School Principal said: “He got a hug from Meghan and then Harry bent down to speak to him, and Luke didn’t give him any choice. Luke’s favorite person in the world is Santa Claus, who has a beard. So, he rubbed Harry’s beard. It’s been a wonderful experience for these little country kids to meet people they’ve only ever seen on TV.”

You can watch the sweet episode here

The excitement surrounding todays visit has been huge and preparations have been underway for weeks.

Mayor of the Dubbo Region Ben Shields said ahead of their visit:

“There is no doubt that Wednesday 17 October 2018 will be a historic occasion for the Dubbo Region.  School children, local residents and visitors will be able to say they were in Dubbo during the visit of Prince Harry and Meghan. It will be a day when the world’s attention turns to Dubbo. It is a real privilege that Dubbo has been included on the international itinerary for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s autumn tour. Over the next four weeks Council staff will be helping to generate excitement about the visit and preparing Dubbo to shine on the world stage. Already the Dubbo visitor’s centre has taken on a Royal theme and some life-like photo boards are popping up to add a sense of fun to the occasion. We hope that the whole region really embraces this occasion as we show off Dubbo to the world.”

Meghan and Harry went on to the naming dedication and unveiling of a new aircraft in the Royal Flying Doctor Service fleet as part of celebrations for 90 years of delivering healthcare to people living in remote regions of the country.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan and Harry were then introduced to a bunch of the Base’s doctors, nurses, and volunteers.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan stopped at one point to talk with a little girl. After their interaction, Meghan gave the little girl two flowers.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan also posed for at selfie two girls named Nerrie Madden, Lilly Myles, and their mother Terri Lee Leach. Nerrie said afterwards that Meghan happily agreed to a photo and up close was “beautiful, just as natural as you’d expect”.

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“They were then shown several of the service’s emergency health-related techniques, materials, and supplies while a crowd of people watched from the sides.

During the explanation, Harry and Meghan listened intently and asked questions before going over to greet the public.”

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan and Harry concluded the visit by cutting a ribbon and cake together.

A video from the visit:

Next, Meghan and Harry met with the Woodly family to discuss the impact of drought on farmers lives at Mountain View Farm – and how rural workers manage with changing environmental conditions.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

Mountain View is a fifth-generation family farm established located about 20 kilometers east of Dubbo, known for stud breeding and sheep rearing and is run by the Richard and Margaret Woodley Family.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan and Harry got their hands dirty, throwing cotton seed onto hay feeding their heard of cattle.

Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan and Harry finished the visit with a morning tea prepared by the Wongarbon CWA, however it was the hand-baked banana bread which was prepared by Meghan as a token of thanks to the Woodley family which stole the show. A Palace aide said: “She loves baking and just decided to take something along with her on the spur of the moment.” Meghan often shared personal recipes on her former lifestyle blog, The Tig, and reportedly baked the treat the night before in the kitchen of Admiralty House in Sydney after a long day of engagements.

Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan added a few special ingredients to her baked treat: chocolate chips and ginger. It was a very special choice by Meghan because it’s a favorite of Harry’s. Harry added during the visit that h loved “anything with banana,”. Fun fact: The fruit has played a cheeky role in their relationship – just hours after relastionship was confirmed in late October of 2016, Meghan posted a cryptic image of two cuddling bananas on her Instagram. Alongside the photo, she added the caption, “Sleep tight xx.”

Credit: Meghan’s Instagram

One of the recipients named Benita Woodley, said about Meghan: “She said if you go to someone’s house you always bring something, so she did. She said she was worried about the bananas, that she’d put too many bananas in it. But the Duke said there’s never too many bananas.” Meghan said she is “running on adrenaline” as she undertakes her gruelling first major tour while pregnant, she has said, saying she is feeling “pretty well so far”.

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

A video from the visit

While departing the couple pulled over their car to make an impromptu stop to make greet some fans who waited to see them.

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

They began their visit by watching a display of jumping dogs.

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Then then went on meeting members of Team Rubicon, an organization for veterans which uses disaster response to help former servicepeople back into civilian life.

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Harry also gave a speech during the visit – he delivered the heartfelt speech while Meghan kept him (mostly) dry by holding up a big umbrella.

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Harry speech:

Thank you to the Mayor of Dubbo Councillor Shields, the Honourable Mr Grant, distinguished guests, and to you all for welcoming me and my wife so warmly today. And thank you to the Tubbagah people from the Wiradjuri Nation for welcoming us to their country.

Sixty-four years ago my grandparents, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, were right here visiting the War Memorial. So, it’s a great pleasure to be able to visit this area now and be able to report back how much life has changed in the Great Western Plains Region since then.

Today we are here to meet as many of you as possible and to get an insight into some of the challenges and rewards of life in this thriving regional centre.

Coming out here brings back memories of 2003 when I spent some time jackarooing on a small, 16,000 hectare property near Roma in Queensland – from chasing cows through the bush and getting chased by countless bulls, it was a fantastic experience and I certainly perfected the great Aussie salute!

But the best part about visiting country Australia is the people. You are the salt of the earth – honest, hardworking and as tough as they come. And that resilience, sense of humour and commitment to the land are the qualities that make you unique. You are the backbone of this country.

We were told there are about 80,000 farm businesses in Australia, employing around 310,000 people. Australian farmers produce almost 93 percent of Australia’s daily domestic food supply – so you are vital to this country and in a very practical way.

The rich traditions of the Australian outback are legendary. You have a lot to be proud of. But I know that life has not been easy. You have just lived through two years of drought. And despite recent welcome rain, it’s going to take a lot more, and a long time, to recover.

It must be hard not to lose hope when you endure so many dry months end on end – knowing that you are powerless to do anything about it. This morning we visited Mountain View Farm and learned about the reality of trying to feed your sheep and livestock when the hay is coming from interstate. We have learned about the knock-on effect of drought on the community and families.

Livestock and crop losses, financial hardship, job losses, intergenerational issues, concerns over the future and the lack of time for rest and relaxation can take a huge mental and emotional toll on farmers and their families. People in many farming communities generally don’t seek the support they need for multiple reasons – because they are often more isolated, their social networks are smaller and there is still a stigma surrounding mental health.

We know that suicide rates in rural and remote areas are greater than in urban populations, and this may be especially true among young men in remote regions. But outside of all that, here’s what I also know; you are one huge community. And with that comes an unparalleled level of internal support and understanding. All you need to do is to ask for it – and your neighbour, your peer, your fellow farmer is literally right around the corner. The chances are they may well be suffering too and will relish the opportunity to either listen or talk themselves. And as I said earlier, you are all the toughest people out there – the most persistent, the ones who can weather the storm – or the drought.

But you need to know that part of being strong and tough is having the courage to ask for help when you need it. You must not silently suffer. You are all in this together. And if I may speak personally, we are all in this together – because asking for help was one of the best decisions I ever made. You will be continually amazed how your life changes for the better once you put your hand up. It’s not easy and there are no quick fixes, but it’s about being the best version of yourself for you and for those around you.

Initiatives and support services such as the Australian Men’s Shed Association, the Royal Flying Doctor Service which we visited this morning, and Headspace are working hard to help those who are struggling. Your culture of “mateship” and reputation for looking out for each other ensures that when people are ready to ask for help, they will be heard.

Hardship also brings out the best in people and we have been impressed and inspired by the stories of farming communities, and the wider Australian community, rallying to support each other through this time. And there’s a lot to celebrate here in the ‘City of Smiles’. Dubbo, I am told, is now a popular tourist destination renowned for its zoo, festivals, boutique wineries – and the Old Dubbo Gaol!

The quality of life and shared values of the people here in rural and regional Australia are very special.

Meghan and I would like to thank you Dubbo for inviting us here today – and for sharing your stories. And the rain was a gift!

Watch the speech here:

And for thei final engagement of the day, Meghan and Harry paid a visit to Dubbo Senior College.

The entire school were there to greet the couple.

Meghan then went solo, popping by the Dubbo Senior Campus Girls Academy. Being a powerful in-school mentoring program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls, The Girls Academy is delivered at 42 schools guiding more than 2,500 students. Each school has a Girls Academy room which is permanently resourced; a place to hang out, chat, seek support and really get involved.

Meghan was guided into the room by Tracey Piggott who is the Program Manager, who said they had first heard that she was visiting seven weeks ago. The girls gasped when Meghan walked in.

“She’s so pretty,” 16-year-old Sharika Lamb said afterwards.

Meghan was shown around by Kieasha Ross and Shakira McGrath-Nolan who showed her a photo wall of the girls’ achievements, the nutrition corner and the attendance board. Meghan was fast to sense that one of the girls, Shakira was incredibly nervous and rubbed her back reassuringly.

“That made me feel better,” she said afterwards. “She said stay calm, keep on doing it, you’re doing great.”

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan cut a casual figure for the second day of her tour down under.

She wore the Serena Williams Boss Oversized Blazer. As we all know Meghan and Serena has been very close throughout the years with Meghan cheering her on in the Wimbledon final over the summer. Her oversized blazer was in grey, blue and red print, designed in a longline silhouette. The blazer also features a notched collar and patch pockets.

Under the blazer she wore the Maison Kitsune Oxford Fox Embroidery Classic Shirt

She wore The Harriet Jeans by Australian brand Outland Denim

And the J Crew Sadie Ankle Boots in black suede.

She accessorized her look with two necklaces: “The Precious Initial Necklace” by handmade jewellery Sydney based named Natalie Marie and the Pascale Monvoisin Cauri N°2 9-karat rose gold, onyx and diamond necklace.

She completed her look with her pair Adina Reyter 14k Gold Three Diamond Amigos Curve Earrings.

For tomorrow:

  • Meghan and Harry will fly to Melbourne, to have a short walk to Government House, greeting well-wishers along the way. They’ll attend a reception at the House with young Victorian leaders, community members, Queen’s Young Leader Hunter Johnson, and ambassadors from This Girl Can campaign, who will put on a demonstration for Their Royal Highnesses.
  • Later. They will pay a visit to a social enterprise café, which offers training programs for young Aboriginal people.
  • The day will end with visit to a primary school to meet students involved in sustainability programs. Finally, they’ll take a tram down to South Melbourne beach to meet volunteers from a local beach patrol program to learn about their environmental efforts.

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