Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Receive Last Nose Rubs of Their Down Under Tour!
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wasted no time in immersing themselves in the New Zealand culture
It’s hongi time!
The royal parents-to-be attended a traditional welcome ceremony on the lawns of Government House, the residence of the Governor General of New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy.
Meghan, 37, and Harry, 34, were invited to perform the hongi, a traditional Māori greeting which includes two people pressing their nose and foreheads together, before the pōwhiri which includes a haka, performed by members of the New Zealand Defence Force. The ceremony also included a 21-gun salute and was attended by schoolchildren.
During the ceremony, the prince was invited to pick up a dagger after a challenge by three warriors. As a sign of acceptance, the chief warrior hit his thigh and signaled for Harry and Meghan to step forward, according to a royal reporter at the scene.
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Meghan was able to practice her hongi before traveling to New Zealand last month when she attended the opening of a Pacific art exhibit.
Artist Sarah Hudson said, “We thought it might be a nice bit of practice before she comes to the Pacific next month and it’s nice to be able to practice something that’s customary for us. She’s honoring our heritage.”
It was not, however, Meghan’s first hongi. That came in April this year when she and Harry attended a dawn service on Anzac Day in London.
Meanwhile, Harry and other members of the royal family have become masters of the intimate greeting over the years. The father-to-be performed a hongi when he arrived in New Zealand back in 2015.
His sister-in-law Kate Middleton mastered the traditional greeting during her three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2014, her and William’s first official trip overseas with Prince George.
Prince William is also familiar with the greeting. Here he is receiving a hongi during a visit to Kapiti Island in 2010.