Royal tour: Pregnant Duchess of Sussex pulls out of event after Harry urges her to 'slow down'

Hannah Furness
The Duchess of Sussex caught up with Prince Harry for the second event of the day, a reception for children hosted by the Australian Prime Minister - WireImage

The Duchess of Sussex pulled out of an Invictus Games medal presentation on Sunday morning as the realities of being pregnant during a gruelling royal tour caught up with her.

The Duchess, who is about four months pregnant with her first child, spent the morning resting after an unexpectedly late finish to the Invictus opening ceremony on Saturday night before catching up with her husband for their second event of the day.

She has already disclosed how she had been trying to overcome jetlag by practising yoga at 4.30am, as she deals with a rigorous programme of engagements which has included flights between cities on several days.

A source said the Duke and Duchess took the decision to modify their schedule over the next few days to ensure the continued health of mother and baby. 

The Duke presented medals at the road cycling event without his wife. And soon came face-to-face with that icon of Australian beach life - the skimpy "budgie smuggler" swimming trunks.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex joking around signing "budgie smugglers" on day two of the Invictus Games Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

However, he politely declined to sign the briefs when they offered up on the head of a competitor. Little did he know he would later be presented with his own pair.

Prince Harry explained his wife's absence by telling Invictus competitors that Meghan was “resting back at home", adding: "Being pregnant takes its toll".

They will consider how much of the Fraser Island programme - their Monday destination - the Duchess will be able to do. There are concerns over the terrain of the sand island, where journeys involve a bumpy car ride which often leaves tourists feeling unwell even without the extra element of pregnancy. 

A source said the Duchess was not unwell but was simply resting.

"After a busy programme,  The Duke and Duchess have decided to cut back The Duchess's schedule slightly for the next couple of days, ahead of the final week and a half of the tour," a palace aide said.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex shaking hands with french competitor during day two of the Invictus Games in Sydney Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Saturday's opening ceremony overran by at least an hour, finishing around 10.30pm thanks to a thunderstorm. 

The Duchess rejoined the planned schedule for the second event of the day, a reception at the Pavilion restaurant in Sydney’s central parkland The Domain.

Hosted by Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, they joined Invictus competitors and their family and friends for a lunchtime gathering to hear more about the games.

The Duchess, wearing a black polo neck and white blazer, appeared in good health, having had a few extra hours to sleep and get ready.

Reunited, the couple met children from mental health charity Kookaburra Kids, with the Prince dolling our hugs to the Team GB athletes he already knows from previous years.

Prince encouraged wife to pace herself

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex showed no ill effects when she rejoined her husband Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

The Duke of Sussex encouraged his pregnant wife to slow down after she felt tired when the opening of the Invictus Games overran by nearly two hours, according to royal sources.

The duchess turned up at a reception in central Sydney after missing a cycling event earlier in the day.

A source said: “She is not sick, just tired.”

At the reception, where they met Invictus competitors and other guests in a crowded restaurant, the duchess appeared lively and engaged.

The Duke and Duchess come face to face with a didgeridoo Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The source said that they had expected to return to Admiralty House, where the couple is staying, by 9pm  last night. However because the opening was delayed by a thunderstorm, they did not get back  until around 10.45.

“We have to try to pace her. We have to make sure she is well paced and not overdoing it.

“She had a very late night last night.

“She wants to do everything, but Prince Harry is encouraging her to pace herself.

“We want to make sure she gets enough rest at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day.

“If it has been a very late night due to unforeseen circumstances, we have to adjust for that.”

Prince Harry with Invictus Games competitors during day two of competition Credit: Chris Jackson/Reuters

Prince Harry given pair of 'budgie smugglers'

The Duke of Sussex was given a pair of "budgie smugglers" on Sunday - and promptly put the tight-fitting swimming trunks on over his jeans.

They were presented to him when a disabled sports presenter and two members of the Australian Invictus Games team visited him at Admiralty House, the Governor General’s residence where the couple are staying in Sydney.

Dylan Alcott, a host on ABC’s daily round-up of the games, had a private talk with Prince Harry along with team members Matt Model and co-captain Nicole Bradley.

Mr Alcott, who is a triple Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball, said: “We gave him a gift. One of the athletes, Matt, gave him a pair of budgie smugglers. And he put them on, over his jeans. It looks awesome.

“He said, ‘Shall I put them on?’ We said, ‘One hundred per cent.’ So he put them on… Good on him.”

Mr Alcott, who was talking at a reception hosted by the prime minister Scott Morrison at a restaurant in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens, added: “I think it did wonders for him. It looked good. He should make it official! I reckon the duchess will love them. But who knows? Maybe not.”

He went on: “I met the Duchess before, at Wimbledon - I’m the number one wheelchair tennis player in the world. I said, ‘We actually met at Wimbledon.’ She said ‘I remember meeting you at Wimbledon.’ I was pretty happy with that. I felt pretty chuffed that she remembered.”

Prince Harry helps a competitor up a walkway Credit: Reuters

He added: “To sit on the lawn, and just have a chat with him about some really important issues, like mainstreaming disability, talking PTSD - what he has done is normalised it a lot, so people feel comfortable. As someone who has had a disability my whole life, it really meant a lot to me to be able to say thank you. He is such a good bloke.”

At the reception the couple met children from Kookaburra Kids, an organisation which helps children living in families affected by mental health issues. Lachlan Williams, 10, from Sydney, said: “He asked which of our parents were in the military, and we put up our hands to say yes.

“Afterwards I said to them, ‘My teacher says she loves you.’ They laughed.”