Adoring fans greet Prince Harry in Sydney for Australian Navy commemorations

Harry met with Australia's newly-elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his family during the visit

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Prince Harry was greeted with thousands of screaming fans as he arrived in Sydney on his first official visit to represent the Queen at the International Fleet Review, which features around 40 warships from 17 countries.

Thousands of people turned out this afternoon to see the prince as he did a meet-and-greet at Campbell's Cove, in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, before boarding a boat for a reception with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Screams followed Harry as he chatted, shook hands and posed for photos before boarding a small boat to cross the harbour to join Mr Abbott for the reception at Kirribilli House, his official residence, on the north side of the bay.

Large groups of female royal admirers shouted “give us a wave Harry” before he boarded the boat, clutching a tiny koala bear given to him by a wellwisher.

Over a million people are expected to crowd onto the banks of Sydney Harbous for the main day of the review and to catch a glimpse of the 29-year-old royal.

This morning Harry was greeted by a crowd of hundreds as he embarked on survey ship HMAS Leeuwin at the city's Garden Island naval base before inspecting the flotilla.

Harry was joined on board by Mr Abbott and governor general Quentin Bryce, the Queen's representative in Australia, before a 100-gun salute.

The prince wore a white British Army tropical dress uniform with the sky blue beret of the Army Air Corps as he took the salute.

Among the crowd were naval trainee medics Ayesha Sweeney, 19, and Renee Simmons, 21, who had driven six hours from their base in Aubrey, New South Wales, to get a glimpse of the prince.

Speaking to a reporter from the Press Association Ms Simmons described Harry as “gorgeous”, before adding, “I'm in love. He wears a uniform very well.”

Ms Sweeney said, “It was good to get a royal visit today for the review, it adds the extra excitement to it.”

Arriving at Kirribilli amongst a host of boats and circling helicopters, Harry was greeted by Mr Abbott, wife Margie and two of his three daughters, Frances and Bridget.

After receiving the prince Mr Abbott gave a speech, broaching the topic of Australia's relationship with the monarchy.

In front of Harry and an audience which included disabled Australian war veterans, Paralympians and young entrepreneurs, he said, “Prince Harry, I regret to say not every Australian is a monarchist.

“But today everyone feels like a monarchist.

“You grace us as your family has graced our nation from its the Crown is a symbol of our stability, continuity and decency in public life.”

The fleet review is being held to commemorate 100 years since the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)'s first modern warships sailed into Sydney Harbour, heralding the RAN's foundation.

The vast event involved 8,000 naval personnel and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft, plus 16 sail ships. It finished with a firework display over Sydney Harbour Bridge.