Harry and Meghan bring rain to rural Australia

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex talk to Luke Vincent, 5, after arriving at Dubbo airport, in Australia, on the second day of their tour to the country.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex talk to Luke Vincent, 5, after arriving at Dubbo airport, in Australia, on the second day of their tour to the country.
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The crowds in the rural city of Dubbo, 190 miles inland from Sydney, were clearly delighted to meet their Royal guests, but not nearly as pleased as they were to see it rain on them.

Afflicted by two years of hard drought and some of the worst farming conditions in living memory, the community of 55,000 had been longing for relief.

It came in spiritual, as well as physical, form. The Duke of Sussex, on the second leg of a 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific with his newly expectant wife, had wanted to see something of the country’s regional life, as his grandmother, the new Queen, had done in 1954.

“You people are the salt of the earth, hard working and as tough as they come,” he told the crowd.

“I know that life has not been easy. You have just lived through two years of drought. It is going to take a long time to recover.

“You are all the toughest people out there, the most persistent, the ones who can weather the storm or the drought.”

The skies had looked ominous as he and Meghan approached Dobbo. The rain began to fall about 10 minutes before their arrival and only got worse as they viewed stalls at the picnic in Victoria Park. Thoughts of watching school football and netball later in the day quickly evaporated.

Instead, Harry told pupils of the importance of talking to friends about personal problems.

The Duke, who has spoken in the past about his own mental issues, said: “There is a stigma still attached from our parents and grandparents’ time not to talk about mental health.”

While he was at the Clontarf Foundation for boys, his wife was visiting female students at Dubbo Senior College who, it was clear, had taken to the newest Royal.

Kieasha Ross, 17, said the Duchess was a big inspiration for her.

She said: “Us being Aboriginal girls and her being of a different race and being accepted into the Royal Family shows us anyone can be accepted.

“It’s great that someone who’s bi-racial and American can do this (marry into the Royal Family). It makes her a role model.”

As Meghan entered the classroom, giggles could be heard while a voice said “Oh, she’s so beautiful”.

The Duchess, who told someone in the crowd that she was “running on adrenaline” on her first Royal tour, which will take in 76 engagements, wore Outlander jeans, an Australian brand, a Maison Kitsune shirt and a blazer from the clothing range of her friend, the tennis player Serena Williams,

The Royal parents-to-be made the most of photo opportunities with Dobbo’s youngest residents. Five-year-old Luke Vincent, who was one of the 150-strong welcome party, went in for an embrace with Harry and stroked his beard.

His school principal, Anne Van Darrel, said the youngster was mesmerised with Harry’s facial hair.

“He got a hug from Meghan and then Harry bent down to speak to him and Luke didn’t give him any choice,” she said. “His favourite 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.”