Monday, 15 October 2018 07:44

Harry and Meghan arrive in Australia on first official tour

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived in Sydney to begin an official visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

It is the couple's first official royal tour since getting married in May.

The 16-day trip coincides with the fourth Invictus Games, beginning in Sydney on Saturday, and includes dozens of official events.

Prince Harry and Meghan were met by a large media and security presence at the airport on Monday.

They were driven to Admiralty House, the Sydney Harbour residence of Governor-General Peter Cosgrove - who is the Queen's representative in Australia.

The couple follow in the footsteps of Prince Harry's parents - Charles and Diana - whose first royal tour was to Australia and New Zealand.

They will rest before beginning official duties on Tuesday.

New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian welcomed the couple to Australia, describing the visit as exciting.

"It's really a visit with the people," she told local network Nine on Monday.

Celebrity appeal
Hywel Griffith, BBC News Sydney correspondent

From the outside, Australia may seem poised to become a republic.

It is a successful, modern democracy with a strong national identity that has become home to people from across the globe.

In reality, the debate over the monarchy here has been deferred to another day and the fascination with the royals remains strong.

Princess Eugenie's recent wedding drew more than a million TV viewers, while Prince Harry's marriage in May was watched by four million Australians.

These ratings don't equate to never-ending support for having a head of state nearly 16,000km (10,000 miles) away.

But they do show that the celebrity appeal of the young royals is very real, and may only be magnified by Harry and Meghan's time here.

In the coming days, Prince Harry and Meghan will visit attractions including the Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo and Bondi Beach. They will also take day trips to Melbourne, drought-stricken NSW town Dubbo, and Queensland's Fraser Island.

They will then spend a few days in Fiji and Tonga, before concluding the trip with four days in New Zealand.

In April 2014, Prince Harry's brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, spent 18 days in Australia and New Zealand.

Prince Harry will launch the fourth Invictus Games in Sydney on Friday, and attend the opening and closing ceremonies.

 

Media captionTheir first royal engagement as a married couple was at a Buckingham Palace garden party
He launched the Paralympic-style competition for injured servicemen and servicewomen and veterans in 2014.

(BBC)

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