WATCH: Heartwarming moment five-year-old boy tugs at Prince Harry's beard before embracing Meghan for a hug
Prince Harry's inevitably sweet interactions with children are among the highlights of any of his royal appearances.
Britain's Duke of Sussex (34) is famously good with children, often speaking about his desire to start a family before announcing on Monday that he and wife Meghan Markle are expecting their first next year, and he stayed true to his family man image in the early days of their Australia tour. The royal pair melted hearts when they met five-year-old Luke Vincent, who embraced Harry by tugging at his beard before going in for a bear hug, while in Dubbo.
As expectant mother Meghan looked on adoringly at the exchange, little Luke also went in for a cuddle to her after gifting her a bouquet of flowers before embracing Harry one final time. While meeting schoolchildren, the pair bent down to speak to the little ones at their eye line, but it was Luke's unfettered affection that stole the show.
School principal Anne Van Darrel said the youngster was mesmerised with Harry's facial hair.
"He got a hug from Meghan and then Harry bent down to speak to him and Luke didn't give him any choice," she said. "Luke's favourite person in the world is Santa Claus, who has a beard. So he rubbed Harry's beard.
"It's been a wonderful experience for these little country kids to meet people they've only ever seen on TV."
Meghan and Harry are in the swing of their 16-day tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and are accepting well wishes from the many royal watchers who came out to meet them. The dissection of the duchess' maternity style has already begun and she took the opportunity to support her friends knowing the eyes of the world are on her, wearing an oversize blazer from Serena Williams's eponymous collection yesterday.
Her casual ensemble also included black skinny jeans from Outland Denim, a Maison Kitsuné white blouse, J.Crew suede ankle boots and delicate gold jewellery by Natalie Marie, wearing an 'M' initial necklace.
During a visit to the drought-affected city of Dubbo, which had an unscheduled bout of rain during their visit, spoke to farmer Emily Carroll about motherhood and made a fuss of her baby Ruby.
The 33-year-old said: "They both had a little tickle with her. She's normally in bed at 10.30am but we had to stay up for this. She's done so well.
"Meghan told me that she's feeling pretty good so far, which is great, and that she's running on adrenaline. She said they're doing 76 engagements in 16 days, with maybe one rest in the middle.
"They're both great with kids."
The couple swapped the koalas and crowds of Sydney for the rural city in New South Wales, with the palace saying the duke was keen to visit regional Australia.
Dubbo, some 190 miles outside of Sydney, has been stricken by drought but the skies looked ominous during their Wednesday visit.