Prince Harry has said he and Meghan “couldn’t think of a better place” to announce they are expecting their first child than in Australia.
The Duke of Sussex spoke for the first time about the prospect of being a father at a reception hosted by the governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove, as his first major tour with his wife got under way in Sydney.
Speaking at the afternoon reception at Admiralty House, Harry said: “We’re both delighted to be here and really impressed to see you serving beer and tea at an afternoon reception, in true Aussie-style!
“Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome and the chance to meet so many Aussies from all walks of life.
“And we also genuinely couldn’t think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby, whether it’s a boy or a girl, so thank you very, very much.”
He appeared to stumble slightly over the words about the baby, possibly a sign the news is still sinking in.
At the same reception, Meghan was seen talking to Australian singer Missy Higgins who was cradling her baby in her arms.
They were talking about how parenthood requires a lot of energy and no rest, and Meghan was overheard saying: “We’re ready! We’re excited to join the club.”
After telling the royal family about their baby news at Princess Eugenie’s wedding on Friday, and formally making the announcement on Monday morning, 4,000 people gathered outside Sydney’s Opera House to see the couple on their first walkabout of this tour.
One very special familiar face was Daphne Dunne, a 98-year-old war widow who has met Harry on three previous occasions in Sydney.
Daphne’s first husband Albert Chowne had been awarded the Victoria Cross after he died in Papua New Guinea in 1945.
The prince immediately made a beeline for Daphne, gave her a hug, held her hand and called over Meghan to say hello too.
Speaking to Sky News afterwards, Daphne said Meghan was “really beautiful” and said she was delighted to have built up such a special friendship with Prince Harry over the years.
It was only to be expected that the news that they are expecting a baby would overshadow the first day of the tour.
Their first baby gift came from governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife, who gave the couple a kangaroo cuddly toy and a pair of tiny fluffy slippers.
Meghan looked delighted, while Harry seemed more bemused.
The couple later travelled to Taronga Park Zoo, where they opened a research centre and met two 10-month old koalas that were named after them following their wedding in May.
The couple are on a 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand that their Kensington Palace staff said would not be altered despite confirmation that the former actress is pregnant.
Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales has revealed he toasted news of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby “several times”.
Charles spoke about becoming a grandfather again during a visit to a whisky distillery in Aberdeenshire, where he sampled a 30-year-old malt produced in his honour.
Asked if he had toasted news of Harry and Meghan’s baby, the prince replied with a laugh: “Oh yes, absolutely.
“Several times, thank you.”