"It all happened very fast, but it was clear and surreal," Matt De Groot says of briefly meeting Prince Harry

By Stephanie Petit
October 16, 2018 04:10 PM
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Prince Harry is going into protective husband mode!

Matt De Groot was one of the hundreds of members of the public who were eager to congratulate the royal couple after they announced they are expectant parents. De Groot came armed with a sure way to catch the attention of royal mom-to-be Meghan Markle as he waited at the Taronga Zoo: a gigantic bouquet of flowers.

“I was chasing the Royal couple to try to hand them the bouquet as a gift from Fitzy & Wippa; it was our way of saying Congratulations on the new bub, but none of us really thought I’d succeed,” he wrote for Honey. “I’m told Royal protocol suggests smaller flowers are better as they can be handed directly to the Princess, but we thought size matters so let’s go big. And it worked.”

Courtesy of 9Honey
Courtesy of 9Honey

De Groot says Harry was the first to notice the enormous gift and pointed them out to his wife. Then, they were heading his direction.

“It all happened very fast, but it was clear and surreal,” the fan recalled. “First, one of Meghan’s Royal entourage came to me to say ‘the Princess thinks they are beautiful and she’d love to take them.'”

Harry noticed the generous gift and made sure to jest with the giver, telling De Groot, “You can’t give flowers that big to my wife? What’s that all about?!”

Courtesy of 9Honey

Unsure of how to respond, De Groot simply congratulated him on the baby news as they shook hands.

“I was underwhelming,” he admits. “One thing I do know is that while my moment was brief, it was genuinely powerful. He made a clear and specific note to make eye contact and had a firm handshake – and as I say, he had surprisingly big hands. Thick, with large fingers and importantly, they weren’t clammy.”

After a welcome reception with Governor General Peter Cosgrove and his wife, Lady Lynne Cosgrove, the royal couple kicked off their jam-packed tour Down Under on Monday by meeting some new furry friends at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, met two koalas and their own babies (otherwise known as joeys) — all part of the institution’s breeding program. They then meet with conservation scientists who are working on efforts to reduce illegal wildlife trafficking.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
DEAN LEWINS/AFP/Getty
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The royal couple was also introduced to Lynx, a short-legged echidna. When they asked if the animal was drooling due to stress, they were told he was simply “excited to see them.”

Meghan and Harry were introduced to a yellow-bellied glider, a type of native possum.