When Meghan Markle set about finding her perfect bridal look, she knew it would include something symbolic to show just how dedicated she is to her new royal role. In the end, her stunning veil was delicately embroidered with a flower from each of the 53 countries that make up the Commonwealth, and the bloom chosen for New Zealand comes from the Kōwhai tree. The duchess had a full-circle moment while on tour Down Under on Tuesday (Oct. 30) as she lent her hand to conservation efforts by planting that very tree.
Prince Harry and Meghan spent some time on Auckland's North Shore to dedicate a 20-hectare piece of native bush to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, where they met children from the Trees For Survival educational program. In addition to teaching them the fine art of 'welly-wanging' (that's rainboot throwing, to you!), they learned about the group's work planting trees in areas prone to erosion. The pregnant royal wasted no time getting in on the action as she shovelled dirt over the roots of the Kōwhai tree with the help of a young boy.
In a clip from the documentary Queen of the World, the 37-year-old was tearfully reunited with her incredible wedding ensemble. As she delicately touched the veil, she revealed the she kept the detail of its stunning Commonwealth wildflower embroidery – a gesture that showed her dedication to the Queen’s work – as a surprise for her new family.
“It was important for me, especially as a part of the Royal Family, to have all 53 of the Commonwealth countries incorporated. And I knew that it would be a fun surprise as well for my now husband, who didn’t know,” she explained in the clip. “He was really over the moon to find out that I would make this choice for our day together, and I think the other members of the family had a similar reaction and appreciation for the fact that we understand how important this is for us, and the role that we play, and the work that we’re going to do in the Commonwealth countries.”
The Sussexes' first royal tour has seen them visit four Commonwealth countries – Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand – and dedicate multiple natural spaces to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy. Earlier this year, the Queen named Prince Harry the new commonwealth youth ambassador and the couple was quick to show their dedication to the work. "In my new role, I will work to support the Queen, my father the Prince of Wales, and my brother William, all of whom know that young people are the answer to the challenges of today," he said back in April. "I am also incredibly grateful that the woman I am about to marry, Meghan, will be joining me in this work, of which she too is hugely excited to take part in."