Happy as Prince Harry in Australia

Touching down in Australia, Prince Harry lives up to his name as the people's prince.
Prince Harry posing for photos

For the fans who stood in the rain, hoping for a glimpse of one of the most popular members of the royal family, it was worth the wet wait. Prince Harry didn’t disappoint during his first – and likely only – official engagement in his current trip to Australia. After visiting the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and laying a wreath, the playful prince headed straight for the crowd and delighted them by ignoring the drizzle and spending 20 minutes chatting animatedly, giving high fives and even pulling faces to amuse babies.

Harry (30), who’s in Australia on secondment with the Australian Army for a month before making his first-ever visit to New Zealand, seemed eager to please, but the one thing he wouldn’t do was pose for selfies. He told one teenage admirer, “No, I hate selfies… I know you’re young, but selfies are bad. Just take a normal photograph.”

Hair to the throne? The playful prince found a kindred spirit in Australia.

Harry made a beeline for a young boy who had created a large banner proclaiming “Redheads Rule”. He gave Ethan Toscan (12) a high five and told the ginger-haired youngster, “It’s awesome to be a redhead.”

Harry didn’t bat an eyelid when a cheeky admirer stole a kiss.

The amiable prince, who was wearing dress uniform, shook dozens of hands and didn’t flinch when an elderly woman grabbed his face and pulled him in so she could kiss his cheek.

Winging it in Oz, Harry took the controls of a vintage fighter jet.

Harry, who is known as Captain Wales, asked to do the four-week secondment in Australia before he officially retires from his army job in June. During his month there, he’s being posted to army units in Sydney, Darwin and Perth, although exactly where he will be at what time is being kept under wraps. His training will include working on surveillance exercises with Aboriginal trackers in Australian’s northern tropical wilderness.

Harry was keen for a secondment in Australia before he leaves the air force.

Harry, who is an Apache helicopter pilot, will have to pass Australian certification tests before he is allowed to fly Australian aircraft. There are times when he’s happy for others to take the controls – he recently got to fly in a vintage Spitfire fighter jet to publicise a training scheme for wounded service people, and video footage shows him whooping with delight as pilot Phil O’Dell puts the aircraft through a loop-de-loop. Phil says, “Harry flew it briefly. He was remarkably down-to-earth, very likeable and I could tell he’s a competent pilot.”

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