The countdown has begun to next week’s visit to Australia by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – otherwise known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
While the glamorous young couple may have boosted the Royal Family’s popularity, it appears that young Australians aren’t exactly keen to see them on their first joint visit to our shores.
The couple’s itinerary, released a few days ago, has them visiting Taronga Zoo and Bondi Beach, among other locations. Prince Harry will also launch the 2018 Invictus Games, an international sporting event for disabled and injured military personnel, which he established in 2013.
However, an Instagram poll by Hatch suggests a lacklustre response to the visit by the young Australian public. Thirty-three per cent of those polled (80 people aged between 13 and 30) said they had an interest in the Royal Family, yet 89 per cent won’t be getting on the next plane, train or automobile to shake the couple’s hands on the Sydney Opera House forecourt.
“I don’t plan to go see the royals. Even though I enjoy them in theory, I don’t feel passionate enough to give up my time to go and see them for something that I’ll most likely see on the news,” said Madeline Dantier, a 19-year-old floristry student.
“I don’t follow them or have an interest in their lives and wouldn’t go out of my way to see them,” said Jake Fleming, a 19-year-old tradesman.
Rebecca Wynn-Jones, 23, said she’s still unsure of what they actually do or what their purpose is.
“I’m not interested in going to see them at all, plus it would be super busy.”
It’s been a big year for the Royal Family, with Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding, the birth of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, and the global success of the Netflix series The Crown.
The majority of young people believe the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been the main driving force in rising royal popularity. A total of 88 per cent of poll respondents credit the latter’s famous profile as the key factor.
“I think the wedding of Harry and Meghan has increased the royals’ popularity because they are young and fresh, plus Meghan was a very popular actress, so that’s already drawing a fan base regardless of her royal status,” said Ms Dantier.
“I think if Harry had married someone without such a high profile in the media beforehand, there wouldn’t be much or as much attention paid towards them as there has been,” said Mr Fleming.
While it appears that not many young Australians will be attending the public events to see the couple, 78 per cent of people believe that it will be one of the most popular royal tours to date.
What will the royals be doing here?
The official schedule of their 10-day Australian visit contains multiple engagements. The Duke and Duchess will be in Sydney for six days as well as heading to the regional NSW city of Dubbo and to Queensland’s Fraser Island.
The Invictus Games in Sydney are a major focus of the couple’s travels to Australia. They will be spending time with competitors and attending matches and events throughout their trip.
With Prince Harry now the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, their Royal Highnesses will also be attending events relating to youth leadership, schools and youth projects on social, economic and environmental challenges.
The couple will touch down in Sydney a week today (October 16). For royal-watchers who want to plan where to catch a glimpse of them, the highlights of their Sydney itinerary include:
Tuesday, October 16
Taronga Zoo, to open the new Taronga Institute of Science and Learning alongside NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian
Sydney Opera House forecourt, to walk around and meet the public
Friday, October 19
Bondi Beach, to see the OneWave community group, which tackles mental health issues through surfing
Prince Harry to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Invictus Games athletes to raise the Invictus flag
Saturday, October 20
Cockatoo Island, to compete in an Invictus Games driving challenge
Invictus Games reception at the Sydney Opera House forecourt followed by the Games opening ceremony
Sunday, October 21
Royal Botanic Garden, to spectate at the Invictus cycling time trial and Farm Cove for Invictus sailing
Friday, October 26
The Australian Geographic Society Awards at the Shangri-La Hotel, to present youth awards for conservation and adventure
Saturday, October 27
The final of the Invictus wheelchair basketball at the Quaycentre and the Games closing ceremony at Qudos Bank Arena – @livsilk