The Duke and Duchess arriving.
The engagement was a nice nod to Meghan's acting career. For seven years filming in Toronto for legal drama Suits, time spent on set was a significant part of Meghan's life. Just a year ago she was saying goodbye to her character Rachel Zane and preparing to move to London ahead of the engagement announcement.
Courtney Creative runs programmes to give young people the tools and experience to excel in the film industry. Founders Kristy and Jamie describe how it works: "Courtenay Creative or CC as we call it, is actually 3 C’s in that it’s a place to Connect, Collaborate and Cultivate. Like everything we do, we believe in supporting hands on practical learning and interaction experiences that deliver versatile and transferable skill sets and viable career pathways into industry. Starting with the Roxy5 short film competition, where we work with intermediate and high school age Rangitahi across the Wellington region to channel their creativity and expression into a 5 minute film. We go to every school and talk face to face with each student and teacher involved in the project, giving them tips and advice how to prepare, shoot and produce their films"
Kristy has a marketing and education background and established the Roxy5 short film programme for Wellington High Schools students with Jamie in 2014. This was the starting point in the journey to set up the Miramar Creative Centre, a one stop shop facility that has become a destination for practical creative learning and production in Wellington and now Courtenay Creative - an exhibition, rehearsal, testing and event space in the centre of Wellington city. Jamie is an Oscar winning Editor and also Co-Founder and Owner of Weta Workshop with Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor. Jamie has been the driving force behind the building, expansion and development of screen facilities in Miramar that have housed the production of so many iconic films made in NZ.
Harry and Meghan met a number of young creatives demonstrating their skills in props, make-up, and costume.
A gift for the Duchess from an Orc (Lord of The Rings fans, you remember orcs right?).
The New Zealand Herald reports:
'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.
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."
The Herald adds:
"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."
A comprehensive video from the event.
The Duchess wore a white tuxedo Maggie Marilyn dress.
The piece is a bespoke version of the Leap of Faith Blazer Dress. The 100% cotton dress is ethically made in New Zealand.
The brand confirmed the news on their Instagram page: "The name of this dress says it all - Her Royal Highness, Duchess of Sussex wearing our “Leap of Faith” Blazer Dress. It is an incredible honour to have this inspiring woman wear Maggie Marilyn."
Maggie Marilyn is a New Zealand based fashion brand that launched in September 2016. A combination of strong tailoring and youthful charm, the Maggie Marilyn collections are delivered with a sense of confidence and modern luxury, taking into consideration the ethical and environmental impact of contemporary fashion. The brand is determined to not only make clothes for living beautifully but to also make a change for good in an industry that itself is reflecting on constant speculation regarding its ethical and environmental footprint; considering a living wage and attention to the impact on the environment to be basic necessities of the fashion business. Below, the Maggie Marilyn team.
When Meghan arrived, she was wearing her Gillian Anderson for Winser London coat draped over her shoulders. The £395 Wool Swing Coat is designed with a soft construction in a double-faced specialist handcrafted wool fabric. When worn open the coat lays straight with a lovely swing detail in the back. Gillian added her signature pink piping details at the back of the neck loop and inside the pocket opening.
Meghan wore the coat for the Invictus Opening Ceremony.
The Duchess wore her Tattoo Diamond Pendant by Jessica McCormick again this evening. The $17,400 diamond pendant takes inspiration from the New Zealand Māori Koru tattoo.
It turns out the earrings were given to her by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday. The two appear to be getting along brilliantly. After Meghan's speech at the Suffrage 125 reception, the PM walked over to her and said "Perfect".
The Boh Runga gold discologo stud earrings feature the native Miromiro feather, reworked into a kiss motif. In Māori mythology the Miromiro feather was a magic token of devotion that would bring loved ones back to you.
More from the production description, I suspect quite a lot of thought went into this gift:
'For the sister with a bold and brave streak. Featuring the iconic feather kiss and droplet designs, reworked into modern silhouettes, and introducing Te Huia; a stylised modern take on the Huia feather. With the sad extinction of this unique New Zealand bird examples only exist in paintings, museums and private collections. Immortalised now in precious metals Te Huia and her Sister Boh Dangles friends live on with you.'
Meghan completed the look with her Manolo Blahnik BB navy suede pumps.
If you're just joining us, click here to read about Harry and Meghan's engagement with mental health youth representatives and key organisations this morning. The post on the couple's visit to Abel Tasman is here.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 30 October:
- Harry and Meghan will travel to Auckland, where they will firstly visit the North Shore to dedicate a 20 hectare area of native bush to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. After unveiling the plaque, The Duke and Duchess will hear more about the ecological importance of the native bush, before joining children from the 'Trees in Survival' group in a ‘welly-wanging’ contest.
- The Duke and Duchess will then join the Prime Minister to visit Pillars, a charity operating across New Zealand that supports children who have a parent in prison through the provision of special mentoring schemes. As a wedding present to The Duke and Duchess, the Government of New Zealand gifted $5000 dollars to Pillars, and they will have the opportunity to meet some of the children who have directly benefitted from this funding.
- Later that afternoon, The Duke and Duchess will have the opportunity to meet the people of Auckland on the Viaduct Harbour, before attending a Reception hosted by the Prime Minister at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. This reception will include cultural performances and entertainment by members of the Pasifika community living in Auckland. The guests will be predominantly young people in the 17 to 25-year age group who are making significant contributions to the wellbeing of their communities, representing the future of New Zealand.
See you tomorrow for the penultimate day of the tour!