prince-harry:Adoring fans offered a soaking Prince Harry a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit as he greeted crowds in the rain during his whirlwind visit to Sydney to launch the 2018 Invictus Games.
The 32-year-old prince stopped for handshakes and selfies with drenched fans, and even received a kiss from one 97-year-old war widow who planted a smooch on him the last time he visited the city in 2015.
Harry is taking part in a two-day visit to Sydney in order to launch the countdown to the Games, the Olympic-style event for wounded veterans which he is a patron of.
Speaking alongside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Governor General Peter Cosgrove, Harry paid tribute to the victims of the terror attack in Manchester, where 22 died, and London, with two Australians now known to be among the seven killed there.
‘When a bomb left a number of people with life-changing injuries in Manchester last month, wounded veterans, including Invictus team members, immediately offered themselves up to provide advice and support to the victims through their recovery process,’ Harry said.
‘The commitment to serve is ingrained in every member of the armed forces and is the embodiment of the Invictus spirit,’ he added.
Harry urged host-city Sydney to get behind the games before making his way to the harbour where he watched a display of sailing – a new sport that will be added to the roster of events for the games in October next year.
As he stepped off the boat, he walked up the jetty and began shaking hands with the waiting royal fans.
Isabel Whitehead, who works at The Tea Cosy cafe in The Rocks, headed down to Sydney Harbour with her colleagues in a bid to win the royal’s heart.
She offered the 32-year-old a cup of tea dainty floral cup along, while another fan handed him a Tim Tam chocolate biscuit.
‘We decided to bring Prince Harry some delicious scones and tea today because obviously the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,’ Ms Whitehead told Daily Mail Australia.
She and her colleagues waved signs, one reading: ‘Rain, hail, shine! Be mine.’
Another framed banner promised the prince free scones if he visited the teahouse – along with the ‘hand in marriage of any of our beautiful waitresses’.
‘Maybe he’ll be interested in one of the waitresses,’ Ms Whitehead added.
Hundreds of Harry fans lined up in the pouring rain to see the 32-year-old, some for the second time when he stopped by Campbell’s Cove, flanked by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Veteran Affairs Minister David Elliott.
Superfan Victoria McRae who stole a kiss from the prince when they met during his visit to Sydney two years ago returned wearing the same crown she wore back then, but it didn’t appear she was so lucky this time.
But a war widow who was first in line to meet Prince Harry at Campbell Cove Jetty on Wednesday afternoon was delighted to see him for a second time.
Prince Harry chatting with kids as he watches demonstrations in preparation for the Invictus Games in Sydney
Daphne Dunne, 97, waited with an esky of beers to see him and despite the torrential downpour, she told Daily Mail Australia: ‘He’s worth waiting for – even in the pouring rain!’
The prince and the widow were seen embracing like old friends when they met again, just over two years since their first encounter.
That meeting came as Harry ended his month-long attachment with the Australian Defence Force in May 2015, and Ms Dunne nabbed a kiss on the cheek after he noticed the Victoria Cross she wore and came over to talk.
‘This time, I got a kiss on the opposite side, so it wouldn’t be lopsided,’ she said.
‘He was lovely. He gave me a hug and a kiss and said it was great to see me.
‘He was so pleased to see me and he worked out in his own mind that it’s just gone two years [since we last met].
‘He asked if I ever take my medals off and I said, ‘Yes, to go to bed.’
She wore a whole host of medals on her jacket, including her first husband Albert Chowne’s Victoria Cross, which was awarded to him posthumously after he died in Papua New Guinea in 1945 during the Second World War.
Asked if she offered him a beer from the cool box by her side, she said: ‘No, he didn’t have time and he was soaking wet.’
The popular prince appeared to be in good humour as the rain fell onto his head
Shortly before the bad weather hit the prince was watching sailing exhibits on the harbour
Prince Harry delighted his fans who braved the rain to see him by stopping for photographs and a laugh.
He even held an umbrella for a man who took a photograph of the prince with a young woman in the crowd.
Despite the dreary conditions, he patiently spoke to members of the public who waited hours to catch a glimpse of him.
They included Tara Knight, 32, from Brisbane, who brought her seven-month-old daughter Evalee out to meet the prince.
‘We’re here for a couple of days and we thought we’d come down and see if we can catch a glimpse,’ Ms Knight told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I’d love for Evalee to meet him, so hopefully she wakes up.’
The superfan went in for a kiss when Prince Harry during a walkabout outside the Sydney Opera House in May 2015
Prince Harry reacts as he greets members of the public as rain falls at Circular Quay in Sydney on Wednesday
The popular member of the British royal family’s arrival was greeted with loud cheers from the waiting crowd
Prince Harry, center, meets the crew of a sailing boat, foreground, during a demonstration on the harbor in Sydney
Another massive royal fan shouted ‘Harry over here,’ in a bid to catch his attention – and it worked.
‘My birthday is the same day as yours,’ Craig Stephens told the prince. ‘Fantastic,’ he replied, shaking his hand.
‘I want to be invited to your games next year,’ the 51-year-old, of Collaroy, added.
‘Everybody’s invited,’ Harry reassured him.
‘I’m a big fan of the royals,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Earlier the prince was pictured sharing a laugh with women during a function at Admiralty House in Sydney.
Pictures showed the prince in high spirits as he enjoyed a conversation with his fellow guests.
Prince Harry (right) gestures as he speaks with guests during a function at Admiralty House
Prince Harry appears to be engaged in animated conversation with fellow guests at the event
The prince is pictured here heading off to a sailing demonstration on the harbour
Prince Harry touched down in Sydney on Tuesday night to officially launch the city’s 2018 Invictus Games.
Speaking at Admiralty House on Wednesday, Prince Harry began his speech with a message of condolence to the Australian families affected by the London Bridge terror attack over the weekend.
Two Australians were among seven people killed when three terrorists mowed down pedestrians in a van on London Bridge and attacked them with knives in nearby Borough Market.
The family of nurse Kirsty Boden, 28, confirmed she died while running to help the injured on the bridge, while the second confirmed dead is 21-year-old nanny Sara Zelenak.
‘I would like to start by sending my thoughts to those affected by Saturday’s attack in London Bridge,’ he said.
Prince Harry touched down in Sydney on Tuesday to officially launch the city’s 2018 Invictus Games – pictured taking part in his duties on the harbour
‘I would also like to start by sending my thoughts to those affected by Saturday’s attack in London Bridge,’ Prince Harry said during a conference for the games
Prince Harry appears to have been given a gift by a guest at the launch of the Invictus Games on Wednesday
Prince Harry has paid a touching tribute to the Australian victims of the London terror attack
‘Australians form an important and vibrant part of the fabric of life in London and we are reminded of that in good times and bad.
‘And our hearts go out to the victims, their friends and families.’
Two other Australians were caught up in the attack – Candice Hedge is recovering in hospital after being stabbed in the neck while Darwin electrician Andrew Morrison has returned home after sustaining a cut to the neck.
Prince Harry also explained what inspired him to found the Invictus Games for veterans and wounded soldiers four years ago and why the event is so important to him.
‘In February 2008, I was forced to leave Afghanistan. I had been serving as an army officer in the British army until my presence on the front line leaked out into the press,’ he said.
Kirsty Boden (pictured), from Loxton, in South Australia, was killed by knife-wielding terrorists as she ran to help victims of Saturday night’s London terror attack
Australian nanny Sara Zelenak (pictured) was confirmed dead on Wednesday after being missing for four days following the attack
‘I could no longer stay with my soldiers as it would have put them at greater risk.
‘It was a decision over which I had no control but the guilt at having to leave my guys behind was hard to swallow as anyone who has served would understand.’
He said it was during the flight home from Afghanistan that put him on the path to the games.
‘While we waited to board, a coffin of a young Danish soldier was put on the plane, and three soldiers in induced comas, all three wrapped in plastic, some with missing limbs and tubes coming out everywhere,’ he said.
‘The sacrifices we ask our men and women to make came home so powerfully to me in those moments.’
Four years later, after another tour in Afghanistan, he began to look for ways in which to support the veterans who returned with injuries.
‘When I visited the Warrior Games in Colorado – I knew what to do,’ he said.
‘Sport would make the difference and help them fix their lives and reconnect with those around them.
‘The spectacle of sport combined with recovery against the odds would inspire everyone who saw it.
Prince Harry poses for a picture with members of the Australian Defence Force on Wednesday
The 32-year-old prince enjoys a laugh with members of the Australian Defence Force
‘I left Colorado with a determination to take it to an international audience so more people could see what I saw. Lives were changed in front of my eyes, amazing men and women proving the impossible is possible.
‘That is exactly what we did when we held the first Invictus Games in 2014.’
The prince also touched on his time serving with several units in the Australian Defence Force.
‘I was lucky to have spent time with several units in the Australian Defence Force when I was here in 2015.
‘I am also lucky enough to call a number of diggers my mates.
‘Having walked to the South Pole, sweated while on exercise on Kangaroo Flats outside Darwin and joined them for the centenary commemorations at Gallipoli. I understand what makes them tick.
‘With my association with the ADF, I have an appreciation of what it means to be a digger and the admiration people have for you, not just here but across the world.
Prince Harry spoke on what inspired him to found the Invictus Games four years ago
‘We are here today because in 500 days the Invictus Games will be held in one of the most sport-mad countries, and iconic cities, in the world,’ he added.
‘I know you all agree with me that the men and women of the armed forces and veteran community do not need our sympathy.
‘In fact, that is the last thing they want but they do deserve the utmost respect and an opportunity to play a valued role in our communities. Duty and service is in their blood.
‘The Invictus Games provides the launch pad from which they can fulfil these aspirations.
‘I know those of you here today and many people who see the coverage of this launch will join me in creating a life-changing atmosphere for these competitors, family members, and spectators alike.’
He concluded: ‘The Invictus Games are coming to Australia. Game on, Down Under.’
Prince Harry flew into Sydney on Tuesday night from Singapore, where he took part in a charity polo match, to launch the 500-day countdown to the Invictus Games.
Prince Harry is in Sydney to launch the 500-day countdown to the Invictus Games
The prince also touched on his time serving with several units in the Australian Defence Force
The sports competition for 500 wounded former and serving defence personnel from 17 nations will be held in the harbour city in October next year.
The prince’s last Sydney visit in 2015 attracted hundreds of people to the harbour as he wound up his 10 years with the British Army by spending a month on attachment with Australian troops in Perth and Darwin.
This visit is expected to generate just as much public curiosity and adoration, but it has also prompted a significant security operation by both NSW and Australian Federal Police.