Meghan Markle And Prince Harry Receive Windy Welcome As They Touch Down In New Zealand

Prince Herry Meghan Markle exit their plane as the arrive New Zealand for the last leg of their first royal tour
Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have arrived in New Zealand for the final leg of their first royal tour of the commonwealth. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were greeted by powerful gusts of wind as they touched down, and coverage on Newshub shows Meghan struggling with her trench coat as it billowed around her.

The royals were greeted by New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, the first woman to occupy that position in their history. Emily Andrews, the royal correspondent for The Sun, reported that after their welcome at the airport, the duke and duchess were whisked away to meet the Governor General’s Kui and Kaumātua, who are Maori elders. The Maori people are New Zealand’s indigenous inhabitants.

Both Meghan and Harry performed the “hongi” with these elders, which is the traditional Maori greeting where the forehead and nose touch. The duchess had previously practiced the hongi greeting when she visited an exhibit of South Pacific art in London before the start of the tour.

Andrews’ tweets also reveal that a group of Maori people welcomed the royal couple with a traditional ceremony. At one point Harry was invited to walk forward and pick up a dagger from the ground. As he did so, the tribesmen crouched and synced their movement to his. When Harry stood, the lead Maori slapped his thigh, and according to Andrews, that meant that the duke had been accepted by the tribe.

Later, the group performed a Haka, a dance that’s often performed by New Zealand’s sporting teams before their games.

Later Harry inspected an assembly of military officers, which has become a regular aspect of this royal tour.

Omid Scobie, royal commentator/contributor for Us Weekly and Harper’s Bazaar, reported that Meghan was wearing a black ASOS maternity dress and a trench coat by New Zealand designer Karen Walker.

On their first day in New Zealand, Harry and Meghan will visit the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Nine News Australia reports.

Later in the evening, they will be the special guests at a reception hosted by New Zealand’s Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy. The event will celebrate the 125th anniversary of women’s right to vote in New Zealand. This theme lines up with the duchess’ focus on women’s rights throughout the royal tour and her activism before she met her husband.

As mentioned earlier, New Zealand is the final stop on a tour which saw the royals travel to Australia, Fiji, and Tonga as well. Their engagements mostly focused on mental health, environmental conservation, and youth development, causes that they have both previously expressed passions for. For many fans, the big focus has been on Meghan’s baby bump, as Kensington Palace announced at the beginning of the tour that she’s due to give birth in the spring of 2019.