The last time we saw him he was charming crowds in Canberra, and now Prince Harry has been winning fans in a place, so remote most maps miss it out. The prince popped into Wuggubun, an Aboriginal township around 500 miles from Darwin, as he began his four week attachment with the Australian Defence Force. And the residents were pretty impressed with their royal visitor.
Harry spent around an hour there on this unexpected visit. Barry Trust, who is a member of the Wuggubun community, said the fourth in line to the throne ‘just rocked up’ and he described the visit as ‘pretty exciting, especially for the kids’ and said the prince was a ‘delightful chap’ who was ‘very good to talk to’.
The trip to Wuggubun came as Captain Wales, as he is known in the Army, started his four-week stint with the ADF by joining the North West Mobile Force or Norforce. Around two-thirds of the troops in Norforce are Aboriginal, and they work on surveillance and reconnaissance in an area of northern Australia measuring 700,00 square miles. The unit was set up in 1981and is renowned for its use of survival skills in an unforgiving landscape.
Harry’s time with Norforce is one element of a packed month with the ADF. The Prince arrived in Canberra on Monday. He visited Australia’s National War Memorial, placing a poppy on the wall almost a year to the day since his brother and sister-in-law, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had paid a similar tribute during their own time at the place of remembrance. Harry’s first day in Australia also saw him lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And the Prince also did a walkabout in the rain – hundreds had turned out to see him and they weren’t disappointed as he chatted with many of them.
The people of Wuggubun seemed just as impressed, and Barry Trust said they had made a suggestion that went down very well with their royal visitor. ‘We’ve invited him back some time,’ Mr Trust said, adding that Harry thought it was a great idea. He said that Harry ‘said he’d love to live out this way, to get away from all the media.’
Prince Harry will have a few more days away from the media as his attachment continues. He will be back in front of the cameras on April 25th when he briefly leaves Australia to travel to Turkey where he will join the Prince of Wales at a service of commemoration marking the centenary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign.
Taking place between 25th April 1915 and 9th January 1916, The Gallipoli Campaign (Battle of Gallipoli) was one of the Allies great disasters during World War I. The campaign where thousands of Australian and New Zealand soldiers lost their lives.
There will no doubt be a chance to see the prince again in formal surroundings as his attachment comes to an end. But as Harry’s trip to Wuggubun shows, there may well be other royal surprises to keep us all on our toes before he leaves Australia.
Photo credit: By EJ Hersom (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/929496) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons