"You are as tough as they come." Why Prince Harry's words had Dubbo's farmers in tears.


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Prince Harry has urged the people of Dubbo battling drought to seek the support they need, saying in his own darkest hours asking for help was the best thing he ever did.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at Dubbo’s Victoria Park on Wednesday to thunderous rounds of applause as the heavens opened over the drought-stricken regional city.

In the pouring rain, as his wife Meghan held an umbrella above him, a casually dressed Prince Harry delivered a message of hope to the crowd, telling them that the best thing about coming to the country was the people.

“You are the salt of the earth, honest, hardworking and as tough as they come,” he said.

“But I know that life has not been easy, you have just lived through two years of drought… it must be hard not to lose hope when you endure so many dry months end on end knowing that you are powerless to do anything about it.”

The recently married prince told the crowd that part of being strong was having the courage to ask for help.

“You must not silently suffer and, if I may speak personally, we are all in this together, because asking for help was some of the best decisions I ever made,” he said.

The 15,000-strong crowd erupted into applause at the revelation.

The visit was a much needed boost to morale for locals, with Natasha Johnston, director and co-founder of drought relief charity Drought Angels, saying it meant farmers no longer felt alone in facing their problems.

Watch Prince Harry’s speech in Dubbo. Post continues after video.

Video by 7News

“To have them recognise that our farmers are hurting, and show up here, it’s an honour,” she said.

“It’s been unbelievably tough, we’ve had families who can’t put food on the table, who can’t afford everyday basics, who can’t afford water to fill their tanks.”

In 2018 Dubbo has had just one fifth of its usual average rainfall, and while a recent sprinkle has turned paddocks green again, more is desperately needed.

Undeterred as the much needed rain fell, the royal couple kicked off their Dubbo trip with a tour of the stalls set up in Victoria Park, meeting with the team from Drought Angels, and stopping to talk to mental health workers from the city’s Headspace office.

Prince Harry also rolled up his sleeves and took part in a dog jumping demonstration run by youth outreach organisation Back Track, which helps young people facing difficult times in regional areas find their feet.

Despite the rain making the surface of the nearly two metre high vertical jump slippery, Prince Harry’s dog easily cleared the obstacle to the wild cheers of the crowd.

Many of those gathered in the park had waited since the early hours of the morning in the hopes of a glimpse of the duke and duchess, and despite the downpour leaving her drenched Warren farmer Audrey Weston said it was worth every moment.


“I just think that it’s lovely that they got off the beaten track and came out to Dubbo to speak with people affected by the drought,” she said.

Ms Weston said it was obvious Prince Harry’s speech and comments to those waiting to meet him were genuine and came from the heart.

“He offered to stay for two weeks so we could have some more of the rain,” she laughed.

Fellow farmer Penny Blatchford from Gurley said Prince Harry’s time jackarooing on a farm near Roma in Queensland had given him an understanding of country people.

Ms Blatchford was also full of praise for the Duchess, who she said was impressed by one particular country approach to decoration.

“She’d never seen cotton used in flower arrangements before so when someone handed her a bouquet with cotton in it she turned to one of her minders said how beautiful it was,” she said.

The day was one that seven-year-old Sienna Blackhall said she will never forget; after hours on her feet in the pouring rain she felt exactly like a princess after a few words with the prince.

“I met Prince Harry and he said I really like your tiara, I think Meghan needs one like it,” she said.

“They were very cool.”

Bronwyn Plunkett waited for hours for her chance to meet the couple, armed with a bouquet of flowers she’d grown in her garden.

“Meghan thought they were beautiful, she was gorgeous – both her and Harry spoke to me and said they were having a lovely time here,” she said.

It’s the fourth time the city of Dubbo has been visited by Britain’s royal family.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner or in Australia, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.