Royal fans have flocked to Bondi Beach in Sydney for a chance to meet Prince Harry and Meghan and were impressed with their openness on mental health.
Royal fans dressed in neon lycra and brightly-coloured leis assembled on Sydney’s iconic Bondi beach at the crack of dawn, but it wasn’t only Prince Harry and Meghan who united such a strong front.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were visiting OneWave, a non-profit surf community group to spotlight mental health and break down the stigma associated with it.
On Friday morning two yoga teachers said they understood why Meghan had told a group at Bondi Beach she was up at 4.30am practising yoga.
“Yoga has helped me and my son so much,” Abigail Couchman told AAP.
Abigail’s six-year-old son suffers from anxiety. After meeting the royal couple she was glad they were championing a cause so close to heart.
“Their presence here and participation in OneWave makes the issue of mental health a global one, ” Abigail told AAP.
“Harry and William are a great new generation for the royals, I think they have taken a huge leaf out of their mother’s book.”
“With them it’s less about the old stuffy family and more about how they can use their royalness to achieve some good in the world.”
Earlier in the week, Harry gave an impassioned speech in Dubbo about mental health and the need for opening up and not suffering in silence.
Fellow yoga teacher Michelle Grundy lost a 29-year-old family friend to suicide only recently. A fan of Prince Harry’s charity Heads Together, she said the duke was helping tackle the issue of mental illness on a global scale.
Alison Minnett and Leyla Sezan who hit the sands just after 6am said both Harry and Meghan had been so natural, easily carrying the conversation.
“We didn’t expect that at all. I thought the handshake would be it but they gave us so much time,” Alison said.
The pair were dressed up for OneWave and were thrilled the surf group was getting media attention.
“You can’t get more reach than the royal family,” Alison said.
Esperance Coppleson 13, and her sister Oceane 10, had waited nearly two hours to catch Meghan, their favourite royal.
“We didn’t actually think we would get to meet them because we were so far down the beach, but they came up to us,” Esperance told AAP.
The sisters handed over flowers and a small koala, to which the duchess replied “thank you very much.”
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This piece was seen on ‘SBS News‘, 19 October 2018.