First stop: Royal Botanic Gardens

By Stephanie Petit and Robyn Merrett
October 17, 2018 08:42 PM
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Prince Harry has quite the fan club!

On the third day of their tour Down Under, Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan Markle arrived holding hands to meet thousands gathered on the grounds of the city’s Royal Botanic Gardens on Thursday morning (Australian time).

While most of the crowd could hardly contain their excitement when approached by the newlyweds, one girl in particular broke down in (very happy!) tears after the 34-year-old prince pulled her in for a sweet embrace.

“Prince Harry just hugged me,” 19-year-old India Brown told The Herald Sun. “I’ve loved that family since I was eight and I’ve followed them around the world.”

“It was just such an opportunity and I just went for it,” Brown told the outlet. “I didn’t expect it to happen because it’s actually against protocol.”

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“I said ‘I know it’s against royal protocol but can I please have a hug?'” Brown recounted. “He hugged me and I burst into tears. He just said ‘Oh you’re going to get me in trouble.'”

Nonetheless, Meghan, 37, certainly didn’t seem to mind as she too greeted a plethora of elated fans.

India Brown
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For the appearance, which Harry and Meghan arrived 20 minutes late to, the former Suits star wore a navy dress (the same color she wore to Princess Eugenie‘s royal wedding on Friday!) by Australian designer Dion Lee and matching Manolo suede heels, and she carried Gucci’s Sylvie mini chain clutch. She topped her ensemble with a Martin Grant trench coat — the exact one she wore just two days ago in Sydney!

After opting for a low ponytail yesterday, she returned to a bouncy blowout for the outing.

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Meghan Markle
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
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Just three days into their tour, Harry and Meghan have already provided their fans with a number of memorable moments. After arriving in Dubbo yesterday, the prince greeted 6-year-old Luke Vincent of Buninyong Public School — and the young boy leapt into his arms for a giant hug before playfully caressing his face and tugging at his beard. As Harry laughed at the encounter, Meghan quickly came over to meet the animated young fan and was also greeted with a warm hug.

RELATED: Pregnant Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Arrive in Dubbo and Meet an Adorably Cheeky Young Local

Prince Harry also found a young royal fan who was wearing a shirt that read “Girls Can Do Anything” in Sydney — who had a striking resemblance to his wife!

“We feel she looks a bit like you,” a person in the crowd is heard telling Meghan in a video posted by Harry_Meghan_Updates on Instagram.

The Duchess of Sussex replies, “I was literally about to say the same thing!”

Harry then took a fan’s phone to snap a photo of Meghan with her mini-me — a rare move for the prince, who usually adheres to the royal protocol of no autographs or selfies.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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Following their meeting with fans, the royal couple headed to the Government House for the Young Victorian Leaders reception. Meghan lost her coat to participate in an event encouraging women to take up sports.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
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Meghan Markle
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Meghan Markle
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After greeting fans in Melbourne, Meghan and Harry headed to a reception with local government.

They’ll wrap the third day of their jam-packed 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand performing a beach clean-up with local schoolchildren.