PRINCE Harry delighted crowds in Sydney by finally leaning in for a kiss with a 21-year-old tiara-wearing woman who has asked him to marry her three times.
On the final day of his monthlong secondment with the Australian military, Prince Harry visited the Sydney Opera House and was coaxed into a conversation with Victoria McRae, a plucky university student carrying a sign saying, “Marry me, last chance, Harry.”
McRae had previously attempted to propose to the prince two years ago during his visit for an international fleet review by paddling her kayak into the middle of Sydney harbour to wave a flag, which said: “I [heart] U Harry” alongside her phone number in large red lettering. She was removed by the city’s water police.
On this occasion, however, McRae, wearing a glittering dress displaying the Australian flag, succeeded in stealing a brief kiss as the surrounding crowds cheered.
Some of the Australian media later branded the exchange – perhaps a little over-excitedly – a “royal pash”.
“He let me kiss him on the cheek but then I went in for it,” McRae said.
“The rest was history. I’m very happy. I reminded him it was the third [proposal].”
The prince, 30, known as Captain Wales, has been on a month-long embed with the Australian army as he prepares to quit the British forces in June, missing the birth of his niece Princess Charlotte earlier this month. The birth bumped him down to fifth in line to the throne, but he was all smiles on the glorious Sydney day, bidding farewell to Australia as his deployment there comes to a close.
After flying in a helicopter over the harbour and Bondi Beach, the prince was greeted by a crowd of about 2 000 people at the Opera House.
Many held signs – distributed by a local radio station – which said, “Marry Me Harry”, “Harry For PM” and “His Royal Hotness”.
The prince chatted with a group of schoolchildren, who were quick to direct him to their single teacher, whom he then called over and hugged.
A seven-year-old schoolgirl who was invited to speak directly to the prince said she asked him: “What is good and bad about being a prince?”
“He said the bad news was that he didn’t live in a castle,” the girl, named Destiny, said.
Her friends later revealed the prince had said his good news was that “he doesn’t always have to wear a crown”.
The prince also attended a Sydney hospital to visit Lieutenant Alistair Spearing, 31, a British soldier who lost both his legs due to a bomb explosion in Afghanistan in 2011.
During his month-long visit to Australia, Harry served with Aboriginal reconnaissance troops in remote northern Australia and with the country’s elite SAS soldiers.