After returning from Abel Tasman National Park, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Wellington's Courtenay Creative for an event celebrating the capital's thriving creative arts scene.
They were greeted on the pavement by screaming fans, including Ryll Gormack, of Kapiti Coast, with her daughter Kate, 13, and son Joe, 8. They had yellow roses for Meghan and held signs saying, "We didn't get to see you yesterday. We love you!" and, "Harry & Meghan, please wave!"
Ryll says, "We adore the royal family and we completely bombed out yesterday. We thought we'd give it another go today. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Once through the doors of the centre — a training facility for the screen and creative industries which opens this month — the royals were welcomed by costumed Vikings and knights, and an orc from Lord of the Rings.
The orc was played by Luke Hawker, 37, a film technician and stuntman from Weta, who says, "I wasn't sure if I was supposed to shake their hands. They seemed genuinely scared, but I was very nice." They did shake hands.
Prince Harry and Meghan, who wore a Maggie Marilyn dress and a Gillian Anderson coat, then met with young talents who demonstrated their skills in props, make-up and costume.
The royals were particularly impressed by Evans Bay Intermediate student Ruby Acevedo, 12, who had been transformed into a chimp from Planet of the Apes by her father Gino, a creative art director at Weta Digital.
Prince Harry came close to her face and asked if he could touch it, which he did. Meghan asked, "How long did it take?" and Gino explained the mask/mould techniques he used on Lord of the Rings. The Prince asked Ruby if she wanted to take a walk outside wearing it.
"It was a very nice experience to meet and talk to them. They were everything I expected. Really kind," Ruby said. Her mother, famed casting director Liz Mullane, commented, "I cast the perfect chimp".
The couple then chatted with models wearing World of Wearable Arts costumes, including Lucy Aitchison and Nicola Provost, both 30 and from Wellington, before moving on to a body painter who was decorating model Letisha Rangi, 29, an artist from Aro Valley dressed in Day of the Dead paint, and her mum Carleen Murphy, in a red devil look.
Murphy said she was waiting for the Meghan to mention her past as an actress, "But she was so gracious and let others shine. She's even more beautiful than she is on screen. More lovely. An absolute beauty."
Lord of the Rings
actor Jed Brophy stood beside them dressed as a devil. He told Prince Harry this was the shortest make-up session he'd ever needed. The Prince responded that he should head out on the town later, which Brophy was planning to do. "They're wonderful people, very warm and genuinely interested."
Louis Baker, 29, a Newtown singer, and some students then performed his track Just a Memory for the royals, who applauded enthusiastically. Baker recalled, "It was such an honour to have an opportunity to play for royalty in my lifetime. I was nervous — I'm only human! We briefly talked about my music and the album I'll put out next year. Meghan said I had a great tone to my voice."
After Prince Harry took a turn on a virtual reality game, which gave him a fright, the royals were presented with a gold, paua and diamond necklace from The Village Goldsmith by Hawker, the orc, who apologised for scaring them earlier.