British royals charm drought-stricken Australian town

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, interact with Luke Vincent, 5, after arriving at Dubbo airport, Dubbo, Australia October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A 5-year-old boy tugged Prince Harry’s red beard and scored big hugs from the British royal and his wife, Meghan, after they touched down on Wednesday in the rural Australian city of Dubbo, where farmers are struggling with drought.

Harry and Meghan delighted a long line of school children at the airport in Dubbo, about 300 km (185 miles) northwest of Sydney, shaking hands and posing for selfies.

Meghan, who is expecting the royal couple’s first child in the northern spring, wore skinny black jeans, a white shirt, long gray jacket and black boots with her hair tied back in a pony tail.

But it was Luke Vincent, who has Down Syndrome and adores Santa Claus, who stole the show, throwing his arms around Meghan when she knelt down to greet him and grabbing Harry’s beard when the prince hugged the boy.

Prince Harry and Meghan are on their first international tour since marrying in May and are traveling to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific islands of Fiji and Tonga.

They had a packed schedule on day two of their Australian visit, visiting the Royal Flying Doctors Service, then heading to a drought-hit farm and then a picnic at a park in the center of Dubbo.

The Royal Flying Doctors Service was anointed as “royal” in 1955 when Queen Elizabeth, Harry’s grandmother, came to Australia.

Their trip coincides with the Invictus Games in Sydney from Oct. 20-27. The games, founded by Harry, are an international paralympic-style event for wounded military veterans.