8 May 2015

Prince Harry farewells Australia

7:26 am on 8 May 2015

Prince Harry has thrilled Sydneysiders on the steps of the city's Opera House, meeting schoolchildren, war veterans and starstruck teenagers in an event to mark the end of his month in Australia.

Prince Harry meets members of the public on his last official engagement before leaving Australia.

Prince Harry meets members of the public on his last official engagement before leaving Australia. Photo: AAP

The prince has been on secondment with the Australian Army and took part in a Sydney Harbour training mission before the public meet-and-greet.

He will be arriving in New Zealand on Saturday 9 May, and will be formally welcomed at Government House in Wellington before attending a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial.

Die-hard royal family fans waited hours to catch a glimpse of the 30-year-old prince, who was accompanied by NSW Premier Mike Baird for the occasion.

The wait paid off for some, such as Pennant Hills' Elizabeth Stanley, who lined up for four hours before the prince appeared when she scored a sought-after photograph with His Royal Highness.

"I wanted one really badly and I was like 'can I take a selfie with you?' and he said 'no, I don't do selfies' and so I got my friend to take one for me and I took one for her," she said.

"It was a really special moment and not something you think will happen, and I'll hopefully remember it forever."

Her friend, Brenna Roberts, was equally thrilled with the prince's visit.

"I saw it on the news yesterday and I said 'oh my God Mum I have to go and see him. I have to go to the Opera House and try to get a photo with him,' and I was at the front and I got one and it was really exciting."

The Prince appeared on the Opera House steps just after 12.30pm and spent close to an hour meeting some of the hundreds of people who had gathered.

"I am really glad the rain has stopped," Prince Harry said at a news conference.

"After a busy couple of weeks, it was nice to have a chance to speak to members of public as opposed to being locked in and working hard.

"It has been fantastic and everyone has been amazing and I have felt unbelievably welcome.

"Once again you are going to struggle to get rid of me."

When asked about whether he was looking forward to seeing his niece Charlotte for the first time after her birth at the weekend, he said she could expect quite a lot of presents.

"I have been given a hell of a lot of cuddly toys from this morning and other things," Prince Harry said.

"So, yeah, I look forward to it. I am looking forward to meeting her. She is beautiful."

After the Sydney Opera House visit, Prince Harry went to Sydney's Macquarie University Clinic to meet a British soldier who was receiving specialist treatment after losing both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2011.

British Lieutenant Alastair Spearing, 31, lost both his legs on a tour of duty and last month underwent specialist major surgery at the hospital to help with prosthetic legs.

Prince Harry said he was recovering well and in a positive frame of mind.

He said that his tour of Sydney had been a "thank you" to the Australian people for hosting him for the past month.

The Prince served with the Army in several locations around the country.

Earlier in the day, Billie Davies from the UK said it was rare to have the opportunity to see the Prince.

"It's amazing because you don't always get the opportunity even in England," she said.

"Obviously he's a big idol. An inspiration."


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