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Duke and Duchess of Sussex join mental health discussion at Bondi Beach

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have paid a visit to the world-famous Bondi Beach to take part in Fluro Friday, a session aimed at encouraging discussion around mental health which included an “anti-bad vibes” circle and yoga practice.

While the couple donned bright leis they opted for less neon than the other assembled members, and while Harry was offered the chance to swap his shirt and trousers for a wetsuit and try his hand at surfing, he declined.

Instead the couple took part in a group discussion, and Meghan revealed she had been up since 4.30am, rising early to do some yoga and telling those assembled that it is “so good for healing your mind”.

Charlotte Connell, 35, was at the beach with her son Finn and said the duchess had told her that she was suffering from the "double whammy" of jet lag and pregnancy.

Mrs Connell, who is 23 weeks pregnant, said: “Meghan told me that pregnancy was like having jet lag.

“She said she was up at 4.30am this morning doing yoga in her room as she couldn’t sleep.

“It’s a bit of a double whammy for her, she said, as she has both the baby and jet lag to contend with.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex received a warm welcome on Bondi Beach Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Lifeguard Jake Nolan, who has previously met Harry on Bondi Beach, said: “He said that he’d met us before – he came by the tower.

“We had a bit of a laugh because last time he was here he was out for a run and he said ‘Last time I was a bit sweaty when I met you’.

“We got them a little lifeguard uniform – mini shorts, mini shirt.”

Anthony Carroll, known as Harries, added: “It was amazing, they’re such beautiful, down-to-earth people.

“I’m really humbled and proud.”

The Duke of Sussex meets a fan during the Fluro Friday session on Bondi Beach Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Four-year-old Olivia Rose Ryan was one of the last to see the Duke and Duchess as they left the beach.

The youngster, who had been watching from her grandmother’s balcony, held out a hairband to the couple and Harry did a quick U-turn from entering the car to say hello.

Olivia Rose’s mother Louisa, 38, said: “He said thank you very much for the present for the baby.

“He was beautiful, charming and just lovely.”

Later on Friday, the royal couple will meet with Bill Shorten, leader of the opposition, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

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Hundreds of royal fans took to the beach, hoping to catch a royal wave on the latest stop for Harry and Meghan on their 16-day tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.

One sign held by a member of the crowd said: “Happy Fluro Friday Harry and Meghan. Well worth the flight from Brisbane and the 3.30 alarm. Please make my dreams come true. Meghan, come say g’day.”

Well-wishers gave the royals gift, with one member of the crowd presenting Meghan with a bunch of carrots, to which she exclaimed: "Oh my goodness!"

She turned to Harry and said "we've got some veggies!", to which he replied: "Fantastic".

OneWave has spread to 20 countries since its inception. Credit: AP

Later on Friday, Prince Harry climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge to raise the Invictus Games flag ahead of the competition's opening ceremony.

The Duke of Sussex, along with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and three Invictus athletes took just 13 minutes complete the climb.

Luke Hill, a swimmer, who was deployed to Timor-Leste three times, Captain Ruth Hunt, who will take part in the indoor rowing and swimming, and Peter Rudland, who was deployed to Cambodia, twice to Iraq, twice to Timor-Leste and Afghanistan, and will compete in the cycling and wheelchair rugby, all made their way to the top of the bridge for the flag ceremony.

Also climbing the structure built in 1932, was Gwen Cherne, who is an ambassador for the Games.

The Invictus Games is a multi-sport event created by Prince Harry for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and begins on Saturday with the opening ceremony.

Her husband Peter Cafe served in Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iraq and took his own life in February this year.

Since then, Ms Cherne has become an Invictus and War Widows Guild ambassador.

Ms Cherne shared a hug with the Duke after completing the climb, and told how he, along with wife Meghan, "provide this beacon of hope and light for so many.

"They're touching, they're shining that interest on the Games, and that shines light on their service and that shines light on the sacrifices their families make.

"I was humbled by the opportunity to spend that time with him and grateful for all he is doing given his place in the world."

Invictus swimmer Luke Hill said the Prince was keen to ask the athletes about their experiences of the Invictus journey.

He said: "I just wanted to thank him for the opportunity, for putting all that effort in, that self-exploration to come up with this idea and then put it into action.

"He also highlighted the fact that Invictus isn't about the medal. We are really there just to form a community that supports itself.

"We spoke about family a lot. I congratulated him on his baby coming and that's the most extraordinary thing that can happen to anyone, I think."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was also on the climb and went up quicker than the others.

Mr Hill said: "I was puffing behind and that's a bit of a concern ahead of the races next week!"

A royal aide said: "The duke and duchess are incredibly excited for the Invictus Games to begin.

The bridge stands 134m above Sydney Harbour. Credit: AP

Also on Friday, the pair visited a Sydney school where they spoke about female empowerment, and Meghan revealed her first job involved taking out the bins.

Meghan told pupils at Macarthur Girls High School that her upbringing and the job "taking out the trash" helped form her into the person she is today.

Pupils at the school have been taking part in projects including putting together boxes of supplies to donate to vulnerable women via police stations and refuge centres, and also creating notebooks to pass forward for students to write about the women who have inspired them.

Meghan told the group of 14-year-olds: "You guys all remind me so much of myself when I was growing up.

"I went to an all-girls school, which was incredibly diverse as well.

"I think being around such empowered young women, it becomes something that you all just grasp onto to understand your world.

"It's made you confident, well-spoken. You have an intention set to really do something to change the world, and you have to keep it up.

"It makes me so emotional. You're doing really, really good work and I'm so happy that we're here. We give you our full support."

Harry, who is now said to identify as a feminist, told the girls he wants men to add their voices to the fight for equality.

"Men can help as well by getting involved, we have to," he said. "We need to get men's voices involved as soon as possible."

Harry and Meghan spoke about female empowerment on a visit to Macarthur Girls School. Credit: AP

Later in the morning, the royal couple were introduced to teenage boys and girls from the In League In Harmony project from the National Rugby League (NRL).

The programme aims to unite young people from diverse communities to be "advocates for positive change in their communities".

One young man spoke to Meghan about his part-time job and she replied: "My first job when I was 14, I remember taking out the trash, all sorts. It gives you a good work ethic, right?"

Harry and Meghan were given an NRL Indigenous All Stars team shirt each, and a 2019 official game ball for their baby.

They finished their day with engagements with leader of the opposition Bill Shorten - who has pledged to scrap the monarchy if his party comes to power - and Prime Minister Morrison.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet leader of the opposition Bill Shorten and his wife Chloe. Credit: AP

Details of the conversations between the royal couple and the two politicians were not made public.

While the Australian five-dollar note and all denominations of coin feature a portrait of the Queen, her birthday is a public holiday across all states and territories, and many of the country's institutions - the Air Force, Navy and Mint - carry the prefix Royal, there is a thread of republicanism which runs through the country.

The left-wing Labour party has pushed for a vote on the issue, while former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is also sympathetic to the republican cause.

Australia governs itself through its prime minister and its governor-general, but the Queen is still monarch of the country.

A referendum has already been held on the issue of the monarchy, but it has done little to settle the argument.

The Yes campaign - spearheaded by Mr Turnbull and backing a change to a republic - yielded 45.1% of the vote in 1999, with the winning No campaign managing to bring together both those who were not fond of change and those who thought the proposal did not go far enough.