Royals

Duchess Meghan gets a blast from the past during a walkabout with Prince Harry at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour

The terrible weather didn't keep the crowds away from their chance to encounter royalty.

It's been a rain-soaked visit to New Zealand so far, and this afternoon was no different for Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan on day three of their royal tour of Aotearoa.
After braving the rain at a visit to Redvale on Auckland's North Shore this morning, where Meghan beat Harry in a gumboot throwing competition, they were at the mercy of the elements again for a public walkabout at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour.
Still, inhospitable weather didn't stop the public turning out in droves. And turn out they did.
After raining for most of the day in Auckland, the weather gods gave some respite for their last outdoor event of the day.
Meghan and Harry arrived in a motorcade, directly from their previous engagement at Pillars in South Auckland, a charity supporting children who have had a parent in jail. They were joined by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
The Duke and Duchess made their way slowly through the crowd, stopping to shake hands and speaking with as many people as possible.
Fans came from far and wide for a chance to meet royalty in person. A group of eight Auckland high school students took the day off school to see the royal couple.
"They're such a beautiful couple and doing such great things," said Charlotte Marsh, adding she hoped they wouldn't get in trouble at school tomorrow. But if they do, it's going to be worth it, because Meghan stopped to chat to them.
"She shook all of our hands," the girls gushed afterwards. They swore they would never be washing their hands again.
"I couldn't believe it, I didn't know what to say, said one. She told the girls to "continue doing good work and to push for what we believe in. She told us don't quit school again – and we won't!"
This group of Carmel College students skipped school to meet the Duke and Duchess.
83-year-old Genevieve Bakker, 79-year-old Fay Simpson and 71-year-old Verna Jamieson live in the city and walked down to the Viaduct in the hope of catching a glimpse of the royal pair. They saw Harry last time he was here in 2015 and say he was gorgeous and friendly but "is much happier now " that he has met Meghan.
"You can see it," says Genevieve. "They've both shown what love is. Royals have never been like that before... they're very open, very casual."
Genevieve Bakker, 83, (R) , Fay Simpson, 79, (C) and Verna Jamieson, 71 (L) weren't going to let a little rain get in the way of their chance to get a glimpse of Meghan and Harry.
At one point the crowd broke into song, singing the Māori version of the national anthem. And then some cheeky members asked the Duchess "if Louis is really Litt", a reference to her role on Suits before getting engaged to Prince Harry.
The Duke and Duchess received many gifts from the crowd, including an All Blacks baby onesie and a jar of Marmite.
Meghan made one young boy's day by stopping to take a selfie with him, generally a no-no for royals. The boy couldn't wipe the smile off his face.
She also stopped to talk to a woman she recognised in the crowd. The woman in question was Hannah Sergel, who travelled from Christchurch for the event. Sergel told media the Duchess used to follow her on Instagram before she deactivated her account (as social media accounts are frowned upon for royals).
They had chatted online before, but this was their first time meeting in person.
"She said thank you for getting in touch and then she gave me a hug and said she would read my letter that I gave her," Sergel said.
"I was friends with her on Instagram before she had to deactivate her account. We used to have conversations and stuff on there.
"She would tell me to do well at university and encourage me to be myself."
"It means the world to me. I am so shaky and flustered. When I first saw her I cried."
The Duke and Duchess walked away with many presents today. Here, Harry stops to accept a small stuffed elephant toy for baby Sussex.
Trinity Cheung, 27, and Dianna Fong, 26, shook both Meghan and Harry's hands and said they were lovely.
"They both had cold hands and their hands were soft," the women said.
Dianna added, "Meghan was lovely. She could see I was struggling to reach out to her and she leaned forward and put her hand through the crowd."
Jackie Oakes and Helen Jones from Royal Oak also got to meet the couple.
"They said nice to see you here, they were so stunning and so relaxed. They've really given the royal family a new lease of life."
Both have braved the weather and crowds to meet royals before – Jackie to see Prince Harry's parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the eighties, and Helen to see Princess Margaret. But neither got as up close and personal as they did with Harry and Meghan today.
"It's different now, isn't it. Back then we only saw them in the car."
As the Duke and Duchess walked hand in hand to the car at the conclusion of the walkabout, they could be seen laughing with Jacinda Ardern.
They have one final event in Auckland today - a reception at the War Memorial Museum which is being hosted by Ardern - before heading to Rotorua tomorrow for the final day of their tour.