Harry and pregnant Meghan get baby gifts, meet koalas Down Under

Prince Harry and Meghan
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British royals Harry and Meghan received baby gifts, met a koala couple and posed in front of Sydney’s dazzling Opera House Tuesday, on their first public outing since announcing they are to become parents.

The happy prince and his US-born wife laughed as they were given a pair of Australian baby Ugg boots from the country’s governor general, watched eucalyptus-munching koalas at the zoo and took a boat ride across Sydney Harbour as they began a lengthy tour of the Pacific.

Meghan, wearing a tight white dress by Australian designer Karen Gee, showed few signs of having a baby bump, but smiled broadly as she stepped back into the limelight — posing against the backdrop of the Opera House sails, which gleamed in the spring sunshine.

Shortly after the appearance, Gee’s website was down, apparently due to the volume of traffic it was receiving.

At the foot of the Opera House a crowd of hundreds pressed against security fences for a royal outdoor meet-and-greet, waving Australian flags, assorted pictures and carrying human-size koala toys, all under the gaze of police snipers and close protection officers.

“I’ve been following them since the wedding,” 90-year-old retiree Edward Atkinson told AFP, adding that he would be looking out for any signs of Meghan’s pregnancy.

“I want to see how she interacts with the crowd,” adds Atkinson, who saw Harry’s mother Princess Diana when she visited Australia for the country’s bicentenary celebrations in January 1988.

This royal couple are on a 16-day tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga that had already been keenly watched but is now set to be a media frenzy that will test Australia’s large contingent of royal-sceptic republicans.

Shortly after the pair stepped off the plane on Monday, Kensington Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s 34-year-old grandson and the 37-year-old actress are “expecting a baby in the spring of 2019”, triggering a chorus of coos and rampant tabloid speculation about baby names.

“What fantastic news!” tweeted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “Australia is thrilled for you both. Looking forward to sharing in the joy during your stay down under.”

The queen was said to be “delighted”, British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted her “warmest congratulations”, and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland said she was “very happy about this lovely news”.