May the best royal gumboot thrower win!
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle continued their Down Under adventures in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday and it was only fitting that the weather took a turn for the worst since the two were scheduled to take part in a gumboot throwing competition.
Swapping their formal attire for wet wear and heavy duty gumboots, the two arrived at the North Shore Riding Club in the suburb of Redvale, to dedicate an area of native bush to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy and plant native trees with local school children.
But the day’s most anticipated event was the gumboot-throwing contest, which saw the royals team up with local school children.
Harry went first, smiling as onlookers chanted, “Harry,” before tossing his red, polka dot boot into the field. He then looked to Meghan with a clap before she took her turn, grinning with apparent nerves before throwing the winning toss.
Harry’s reaction? Demanding a rematch!
“He congratulated her, but he said they need a rematch and he’ll win next time,” Sebastian van der Zwan, Deputy Editor of New Zealand magazine Woman’s Day, told ET after watching the contest go down.
The Duchess was appropriately awarded a gumboot trophy for her efforts (which one of her teammates, 10-year-old Ryen Anderson, gets to keep) and the couple, who are expecting their first child next year, was also gifted an adorable pair of tiny, bright green gumboots for their baby.
“I think she was thinking that there was no chance that she would win,” Pinehill School pupil Isabella Iti said, according to local news site Now to Love. “But she did.”
Gumboot-throwing is celebrated every year in the South Island town of Taihape (aka “the Gumboot Capital of the World,”) where an annual Gumboot Day has been in place since 1985. The day involves the highly-anticipated Gumboot Toss, where contestants compete to throw a size eight gumboot as far as they can.
Despite being dressed down for the rainy day, pregnant Meghan still managed to look flawless and fabulous in a blazer by New Zealand designer, Karen Walker. The former “Suits” star also wore a trench coat by the Kiwi fashion icon as she arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, from Sydney, Australia, on Sunday — a move which has since seen the coat selling out on Walker’s website.
Following the muddy contest, the duo headed to children’s prison charity, Pillars, with New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who is hosting a reception for the pair in the evening. They then hit Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour for a public walkabout, where Harry reportedly had some fun grabbing a toddler’s soft toy and holding it to his ear to see what noises it could make. The Duke was also gifted a jar of Marmite, a thick black New Zealand spread commonly eaten on toast.
Meanwhile, Meghan took the time to stop and chat with a group of schoolgirls holding a sign that read, “We’re skipping school 4 you.”
It seems the royals weren’t fazed by the miserable weather put on by the “City of Sails,” with van der Zwan saying that the rain only highlighted how much the pair are still in their “honeymoon phase” following their May nuptials.
“It was an unseasonably wet and wild day out in the countryside, but Harry and Meghan took it in their stride, trudging arm-in-arm through the mud as they arrived to plant trees,” he shared. “He had a protective arm on her at all times. It’s clear they’re still in the honeymoon phase and he’s taking special care now there’s a baby on board.”
See more from the royals’ time in New Zealand below.