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Meghan Markle dazzles in Oscar de la Renta at Sydney awards ceremony

The Duchess of Sussex wore an exquisite cocktail dress to an awards ceremony in Sydney tonight, just hours after she faced a flight drama with Prince Harry when their plane aborted its landing. 

Just hours after touching down in Australia, Meghan had changed into her stunning Oscar de la Renta designer gown to attend the Australian Geographic Society gala awards at the Shanghai-La hotel.

Both Meghan and Harry presented awards. It comes after their Qantas charter flight from Tonga, a Boeing 737, pulled up from the runway at Sydney Airport just seconds before touching down.

Its pilot, Nigel Rosser, explained over the tannoy system that another plane on the runway had been ‘slow to roll’ and the two aircraft were too close. He explained the decision was made to ‘abort the landing’. 

As they left the ballroom, where the awards were taking place, to meet the winners, Meghan was clutching a toy wombat that she had been given for her unborn baby. Ironically, Prince William was nicknamed ‘wombat’ by his mother Princess Diana. Meghan was also given a ‘numbat’, a small long-trailed marsupial from Western Australia.

Earlier, the pregnant Duchess of Sussex dazzled in a green and white cotton designer dress as she and her husband met with Tonga’s Prime Minister and his deputy in the latest stage of their marathon 16-day royal tour. 

The Duchess of Sussex arrives with her husband Prince Harry in a stunning Oscar de la Renta designer gown in Sydney

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex greet award winners at the event in Sydney this evening

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex greet award winners at the event in Sydney this evening

As they left the ballroom , where the awards were taking place, to meet the winners, Meghan was clutching a toy wombat that she had been given for her unborn baby

Meghan clutches a toy

As they left the ballroom , where the awards were taking place, to meet the winners, Meghan was clutching a toy wombat that she had been given for her unborn baby

Harry was at the event in Sydney tonight with Meghan during their 16-day tour of Australasia

Harry was at the event in Sydney tonight with Meghan during their 16-day tour of Australasia

Today, the Queen was honoured at the Australian Geographic Society event with a special award for conservation for her initiative to highlight the plight of the world’s forests.

The award, for her ‘outstanding contribution’ to global conservation was accepted on her behalf by the Duke of Sussex, and recognises the impact of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, an initiative launched in 2015.

The Duke of Sussex gave an impassioned speech after picking up the award, in which he warned there ‘cannot be any more excuses’ when it comes to protecting the planet. 

Harry warned: ‘We cannot continue to pollute the oceans with plastics and other wastes. We cannot continue to breathe polluted air while cutting down our forests or without reducing emissions.

‘We cannot stand by and let our wildlife disappear from the earth and our fish from the seas. I think we can agree tonight that there cannot be any more excuses.

‘Thanks to the tireless efforts of everyone in this room and the environmentalists and conservationists of the past, we are ready to translate our awareness into action. It is going to take every single one of us to stop the clock on the destruction of our planet, and time is not on our side. 

Harry and his wife Meghan were at the Australian Geographic Society awards in Sydney today

Harry and his wife Meghan were at the Australian Geographic Society awards in Sydney today

Meghan wore an exquisite cocktail dress to the ceremony in Sydney as she addressed the Australian Geographic Society

The Queen was honoured with an award for conservation for her initiative to highlight the plight of the world’s forests

The Queen was honoured with an award for conservation for her initiative to highlight the plight of the world’s forests

Meghan presents Sophia Skarparis with the Young Conservationist of the Year award, for her work to ban plastic bags

Meghan presents Sophia Skarparis with the Young Conservationist of the Year award, for her work to ban plastic bags

‘The standard we walk past is the standard we accept. It’s time to take personal responsibility and realise what a privilege it is for us to live alongside nature. Thank you for your dedication to our environment, our planet, our future, our Mother Nature.’

Talking about the award, Chrissie Goldrick, editor in chief of Australian Geographic, said that the Queen had offered ‘vital leadership’ to a project that ‘aims to tackle deforestation on a global scale’.

After its launch, she said, ‘the Queen quickly lent her enthusiasm and her support to this initiative. It is an ambitious initiative’.

He added: ‘It seeks to offer greater protection to the world’s native forests, and seeks to regenerate those that have degraded or pulled down. So far 42 countries of the 53 that comprise the modern Commonwealth have added over 90 projects to the canopy in a very short time. It is an idea that has really taken off.’

She also described how Harry was a member of the South Pole club. ‘That is usually quite an exclusive club, except when you are at an Australian Geographic Society event. There are lots of people who have been to the South Pole!’

The Duke of Sussex spoke at the Australian Geographic Society gala awards in Sydney tonight

The Duke of Sussex spoke at the Australian Geographic Society gala awards in Sydney tonight

Prince Harry warned: 'We cannot stand by and let our wildlife disappear from the earth'

Harry speaks after accepting a medal for the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy project

Prince Harry warned: ‘We cannot stand by and let our wildlife disappear from the earth’

Prince Harry presents the Young Adventurer of the Year award to Jade Hameister at the gala 

Prince Harry presents the Young Adventurer of the Year award to Jade Hameister at the gala 

Harry accepted an award for outstanding contribution to global conservation on behalf of his grandmother, the Queen

Harry accepted an award for outstanding contribution to global conservation on behalf of his grandmother, the Queen

She described him as ‘a passionately committed conservationist’ and said that while in Australia he had made ‘the most of your popularity, your influence and your undoubted charisma to draw attention to a range of issues close to your own heart’. 

She added: ‘When people like Your Royal Highnesses, held in such affection by so many, when you speak, people listen… You can change hearts and minds.’

The Duke and Duchess, who arrived late at the ceremony because of the delayed flight from Tonga, were there to present two awards.

The duke presented the award for Young Adventurer of the Year to Jade Hameister. Now 17, she skied to the North Pole aged 14, became the youngest woman to cross Greenland a year later, and this year completed a 37-day journey to the South Pole. She is the youngest person to complete the polar hat-trick.

The duchess presented the award for Young Conservationist of the Year to Sophia Skarparis. Aged 15, she started a petition this year to ban plastic bags in New South Wales, which led to a meeting with the state premier and her petition being debated in the NSW Parliament this week.

Sophia Skarparis, 15, who won the award for Young Conservationist of the Year, spoke to the couple afterwards.

Just hours after touching down in Australia, Meghan had changed into her stunning Oscar de la Renta designer gown

Just hours after touching down in Australia, Meghan had changed into her stunning Oscar de la Renta designer gown

Both Meghan and Harry are due to present awards at the dinner in Sydney tonight, which comes after their in-flight drama

Both Meghan and Harry are due to present awards at the dinner in Sydney tonight, which comes after their in-flight drama

She said: ‘They congratulated me for the award and said how inspiring it was to see the next generation taking action. 

‘We cannot stand by and let our wildlife disappear’: Prince Harry’s speech

‘We cannot continue to pollute the oceans with plastics and other wastes. We cannot continue to breathe polluted air while cutting down our forests or without reducing emissions.

‘We cannot stand by and let our wildlife disappear from the earth and our fish from the seas. I think we can agree tonight that there cannot be any more excuses.

‘Thanks to the tireless efforts of everyone in this room and the environmentalists and conservationists of the past, we are ready to translate our awareness into action.

‘It is going to take every single one of us to stop the clock on the destruction of our planet, and time is not on our side.

‘The standard we walk past is the standard we accept. It’s time to take personal responsibility and realise what a privilege it is for us to live alongside nature. Thank you for your dedication to our environment, our planet, our future, our Mother Nature.’

‘Harry, in particular, was incredible passionate about our work. Meghan told us to keep up the great work. She said she was really inspired by hearing what we had achieved. ‘

Editor in Chief of Australian Geographic, Chrissie Goldrick, said: ‘My head’s still in a bit of a spin. It’s incredible that he came to our event. It was a dream of ours to get him here.

‘This [the environment] runs in the family. Not only we have got Prince Harry out here, speaking on behalf of the environment in a powerful way, he’s not pulling any punches on his messages, but we also have Prince Charles, a long term environmentalist from back in the 1970s and now we have the Queen who is behind the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project in a major way. 

‘You have got the three generations of that family stepping up for the environment. 

‘They really do have a power to help people focus. I can believe we are still arguing about climate change. 

‘So when you get people like that ho are not politicians or states people or scientists out there giving that message then people step up and take notice. ‘

Mrs Goldrick, who was born in Manchester, added: ‘Harry said he really liked being among the company here tonight because he said this was a room full of people who are trying to change the world. ‘ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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