Photos: Harry and Meghan's Australia-New Zealand tour that changed everything

Meghan and Harry in Australia
Why was this tour so special?
Reminiscent of Lady Di
Diana and Charles in Australia
New Zealand, 1983
Meghan and Harry's visit in 2018
Princess Diana in Australia, 1985
The Hug
Harry had been there before
Prince Harry as a jackaroo, 2003
When Harry met Henry, 2015
Red Heads Rule, 2015
Roll of Honour
Make a lil' sparkle!
We forgive you, Harry!
Prince Harry and Dafney Dunne, 2018
Meghan Markle came along... and she was pregnant!
Cheering on the Invictus athletes
Sitting down on the beach
'Meghan was welcomed by the world'
'A great asset to the Commonwealth'
A sunny day on Fraser Island
The Butchulla people of Fraser Island
Harry and Meghan at work in Dubbo
A break on the farm
Greetings on Dubbo Airport
Luke Vincent and Prince Harry
Hugging Meghan Markle
A New Zealand welcome
Traditional greetings
The weather did not matter
Throwing rainboots
Here, let me get that...
A popular couple
A rough awakening
Meghan and Harry in Australia

"It really changed after the Australia tour," Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey in the explosive interview he gave with Meghan Markle in early March. The couple recalled how they felt their relationship with the British Royal Family had deteriorated after they came back from their South Pacific tour. The trip was a pivotal moment in the story of 'Megxit:' the break of Harry and Meghan with the British palace and one of the greatest royal crises in recent history. What happened during that tour?

Why was this tour so special?

The couple's 2018 tour of Australia and New Zealand was their first official trip together. According to Harry, it was "the first time that the family got to see how incredible [Meghan] is at the job. And that brought back memories." Yes, he was referring to his late mother Diana and the way she stole the hearts of Australians and New Zealanders during her visit at the time.

Reminiscent of Lady Di

There have been quite a few comparisons between Harry and Meghan in the present and Lady Diana in the past. Both Meghan and Diana were 'odd women out' in the Royal Family. Harry himself says he didn't want "history to repeat itself" with Meghan pursued by the press and feeling isolated and unsafe in the palace. It's something his mother Diana endured for many years, the Duke of Sussex recalls.

Diana and Charles in Australia

What makes both Diana and Meghan so different from the other royals becomes clear when we revisit their trips to faraway territories. Both women instantly won the hearts of the people as they visited them in their hometowns and showed a genuine interest in their lives.

New Zealand, 1983

Diana and Charles' appearance in New Zealand, in 1983, was one of those occasions people would long remember. Their photo on the grounds of Auckland's Government House, sitting on a plaid in the grass with baby William, became iconic.

Meghan and Harry's visit in 2018

A similarly groundbreaking trip was that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Australia and New Zealand in 2018. They were in Sydney for the Invictus Games and visited Dubbo, Melbourne, Fraser Island, Tonga, Fiji, and New Zealand.

Princess Diana in Australia, 1985

People soon noticed that Harry and Meghan were just as open and genuinely friendly with the local people as Harry's mother Diana had been. To compare, here's a scene with Lady Di in Australia.

The Hug

And here's her son Harry in 2018. Scenes like this one in Dubbo, New South Wales, attest to the way the couple reminded people of Diana.

Harry had been there before

Harry has quite a few experiences visiting Australia and New Zealand. He went there a number of times before meeting Meghan Markle and touring the continent with her in 2018.

Prince Harry as a jackaroo, 2003

A young Prince Harry visited Sydney in 2003 at the beginning of a three-month stay in Australia. The 19-year-old came to work at a cattle ranch in the Outback as an Australian cowboy - a jackaroo.

When Harry met Henry, 2015

In 2015, Harry had the honour of greeting a 100-year old Tuatara lizard in Invercargill. His name was Henry.

Red Heads Rule, 2015

Prince Harry had fun with the kids of Canberra, who believe that red heads are the best people.

Roll of Honour

Besides laughing with the kids, Prince Harry also tended to a more serious matter: He placed a poppy at the Roll of Honour in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Make a lil' sparkle!

By 2018, the Duke of Sussex brought his wife along with him to Australia and New Zealand. People got emotional.

 

We forgive you, Harry!

Some of them may have hoped to snatch up the Prince themselves one day. But we forgive you for choosing Meghan, Harry!

Prince Harry and Dafney Dunne, 2018

The late Dafney Dunne, here 98 years old, was arguably Prince Harry's biggest fan in the world. She would pass away in the year after the visit, 2019.

Meghan Markle came along... and she was pregnant!

Meghan Markle was immediately as popular as her husband, thanks to her smile and interest in people. The fact that she had just disclosed being pregnant with her first child made Meghan extra interesting for royalty fans and the media.

Cheering on the Invictus athletes

Her enthusiasm during the final of the 2018 Invictus Games was very much appreciated.

Sitting down on the beach

An important event during their trip in Australia was a surf gathering on the beach to raise awareness about mental health. Much later it would become known that both Harry and Meghan were dealing with mental health issues themselves during their time as senior members of the royal family. They talked about it during the Oprah interview.

'Meghan was welcomed by the world'

"To see how effortless it was for Meghan to come into the family so quickly in Australia and across New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, and just be able to connect with people," Harry recalled in the interview with Oprah. "She was very much welcomed into the family not just by the family, but by the world."

 

'A great asset to the Commonwealth'

Harry had trouble understanding how his family could not like Meghan Markle. "Really here you have one of the greatest assets to the Commonwealth that the family could have ever wished for," he told Oprah.

A sunny day on Fraser Island

Harry and Meghan visited Fraser Island during their 2018 tour of Australia.

The Butchulla people of Fraser Island

They met with the Butchulla people. They are the traditional owners of the island, which they call K'gari.

Harry and Meghan at work in Dubbo

In Dubbo, New South Wales, they were put to work at the Mountain View Farm.

A break on the farm

They had a lovely meeting with the Woodley family.

Greetings on Dubbo Airport

One of the highlights of the trip was the striking and heartwarming encounter the couple had with a class of school kids on Dubbo Airport

Luke Vincent and Prince Harry

The little boy Luke Vincent took a special liking to the Prince, his beard, and his wife. He could not bother with protocol.

Hugging Meghan Markle

After hugging Harry, he gave the same heartfelt greeting to Meghan Markle. The images of their encounter traveled across the world.

A New Zealand welcome

Moving on to New Zealand, Harry and Meghan wore Korowai, traditional Maori cloaks, when they visited Te Papaiouru, Ohinemutu, in Rotorua.

Traditional greetings

Meghan gave the Maori greeting, or hongi, as if she'd never done anything else.

The weather did not matter

It had rained and there was a lot of mud. But that didn't stop Harry and Meghan from fully participating in the activities organized by the community of Redvale, North Shore in New Zealand.

Throwing rainboots

Part of the festivities was a boot throwing contest. We know that Meghan competed fervently, but we don't know who won.

Here, let me get that...

Meghan helped out the local kids planting a tree. She clearly wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty.

A popular couple

Local and international media agreed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were a popular couple among the Australians and New Zealanders.

 

Read also: What the royal family means to Kiwis and Aussies

A rough awakening

It was after this successful visit, and the great chemistry of Meghan and Harry with the Australian and New Zealand people, that the couple reportedly had a rough awakening at home. "After we had gotten back from our Australia tour," Meghan told Oprah Winfrey, "things really started to turn... I knew we weren't being protected." Well, the rest is history - a history of which we have not heard the last word yet.

 

Read more: all about Harry and Meghan's break from the Royal Family

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