And we’re finally on the final leg of this trip, as the Sussexes closed out the Invictus Games on Saturday and took off for Wellington on Sunday. (They still have some Royal Touring ahead of them, as they don’t head back to London until November 1st; interestingly, a lot of the royals reporters went back to the UK instead of traveling to New Zealand, including the Daily Mail, I think because several of them are going to The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria with Charles and Camilla and want to stop at home for a couple of days.)
For their departure from Australia, Meghan wore the same Aquazarra shoes as she wore the evening previous to this (I decided everything else was already packed), a Hugo Boss BOSS dress (it’s also available in blue), and carried one of her trademark Tiny Little Bags. Harry wore pants and a jacket and a shirt and a tie. When they landed in New Zealand, Meghan had changed into an ASOS maternity dress (affordable!)(black as a nod to the All Blacks, I assume!) and a snazzy plaid Karen Walker trench (Walker is a Kiwi). Harry stayed in pants and a jacket and a shirt and a tie. BORING, HARRY. Can you not at least borrow the Queen’s famous New Zealand fern brooch and use it as a tie pin? Work with me.
On their first day here — well, there — in New Zealand, they: met the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the airport (which I didn’t get photos of but I assume they all high-fived), then attended a welcome ceremony at Government House, where the Governor-General to New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy, lives (surely in squalor, look how HIDEOUS!!!! it is). The official program for today says, “their Royal Highnesses will be invited to hongi with the Governor-General’s Kuia and Kaumātua (Māori elders), before the pōwhiri, which includes a haka performed by members of the New Zealand Defence Force,” and in fact so they did. They then travelled to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, and see — yet again I quote the press release from Kensington Palace — “the newly unveiled UK War Memorial – whose design takes the form of two of the United Kingdom and New Zealand’s most iconic trees – the Royal Oak and a Pōhutakawa.” In looking this up, I discovered that they’ve been holding a ceremony called The Last Post at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior since 2015’s Anzac Day, a tradition which will be concluding on Remembrance Sunday in a couple of weeks. It sounds extremely moving, I cried just reading about it. I feel like if it were part of my job to go to all these memorials, I would basically be crying the whole time. I can’t help it. I burst into tears the first time I saw the Lincoln Memorial. I would be a wreck if I were doing that sort of thing as my job. Luckily, it seems unlikely; instead, I bring you pictures of attractive people wearing things. Let’s observe!
But first, some tweets:
First, save this in case someone gets nervy about Meghan or Kate going strapless in the future:
Queen Elizabeth II has made ten visits to New Zealand – the first of these came during Her Commonwealth Tour in 1953/1954.
Later today The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will arrive in New Zealand to start their first joint visit to the country! #RoyalVisitNZ
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 27, 2018
Windy in Wellington today!
Kia ora! Harry and Meghan (in an @ASOS Maternity Wear dress and @karenwalker trench coat) step out in windy Wellington after flying over with the @InvictusSydney Team New Zealand competitors. pic.twitter.com/uPenMLjTcC
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) October 28, 2018
This is so cool:
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 28, 2018
Next is another part of the pōwhiri, and I’m going to turn to Wikipedia here, but if I (or Wiki) get it wrong, PLEASE tell me. “For most non-Māori speakers the wero, an aggressive challenge of the visitor at the beginning of the ceremony, is the most spectacular part of the pōwhiri. During this part of the ceremony, three Māori warriors will advance cautiously towards the guests with ceremonial weapons and perform threatening gestures and grimaces, calling out battle screams and generally giving an impression of being ready to explode into violence against the visitors at any moment. The first warrior represents the realm of Tumatauenga, the Atua (God) of War. The third Warrior represents Rongo the Atua of Peace (Rangimarie). It is the final warrior who offers the rautapu, a signal that the manuhiri (guests) may enter the Marae-atea. Historically, it has roots in both showing off the martial prowess of the iwi’s warriors, as well as testing the steadfastness of the visitors. By accepting the rautapu, a leaf or carved effigy, that the lead warrior will place on the ground before the visitors as a symbolic offering of peace, this part of the ceremony is concluded.”
WATCH: Harry is invited to pick up a dagger after a challenge by three warriors. The chief warrior shows Harry is accepted by hitting his thigh and then Harry & Meghan are called forward. pic.twitter.com/C2ot4MX55L
— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) October 28, 2018
That is really neat. I could spend all day reading about other culture’s ceremonial welcomes. Actually, it’s still the weekend. MAYBE I WILL.