Duchess of Sussex steps out to greet fans on Fraser Island
MEGHAN Markle has made a surprise public appearance, meeting adoring royal fans with her husband Prince Harry on Monday afternoon in Queensland.
It was earlier revealed the pregnant Duchess' official duties would be scaled back after a so-far hectic tour, with Meghan not joining Harry at the unveiling of a plaque in the Pile Valley and Lake McKenzie.
About 3pm, Prince Harry travelled by boat to Kingfisher Bay, where he met his wife, who was driven to the end of the jetty, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk joining the couple for a walk.
The couple met with several well-wishers gathered on the jetty, with Meghan wearing a white and black striped dress and brown sandals and looking relaxed and happy.
First to greet the couple was Jada Quinn, 9, who held a sign which read "Rangas Rule", her sister Ella Quinn, 12, and friends Grace Hoffman, 9, and Eliza Veitch, 10.
Prince Harry told the girls he liked their pineapple T-shirts.
"I like how Meghan stands up for women and their rights," Ella said.
Jada and Ella said they greeted the prince with the unusual sign because their father was a redhead.
"She [Meghan] thanked us because we had a royal wedding party," Ella said.
Meghan bent down to speak with Noeline Walk, 85, who has lived on Fraser Island for 45 years, and asked what she could have for dinner on the island.
"So I said seafood of course," she said.
Sisters Lily and Ebony handed the royal couple a quilt covered in kangaroos, emus and koalas, which was made by their nanna Janice Reid.
"I said to them, my nanna made this for you guys, but Harry made a comment and said, oh is there any drop bears on it?" Ebony said.
Prince Harry and Meghan also met with Hervey Bay paramedics Danielle Kellam and Graeme Cooper, who last year made headlines after taking a dying patient to see the ocean for the last time.
They handed the royals two Tambo Teddies, dressed as paramedics.
"It was so unreal," Mr Cooper said.
Ms Kellam said the couple were very sincere and genuine.
Earlier, Prince Harry unveiled a plaque for the dedication of the forests of Fraser Island to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy and participated in a traditional smoking ceremony.
He also visited Lake McKenzie, taking off his shoes to walk in the shalows and travelled to McKenzie Jetty to learn about its history in the island's logging trade.
On Tuesday, Prince Harry and Meghan will leave Australia and travel by charter flight to Fiji's capital Suva, to continue their 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. They return to Sydney on Friday night.