British Royal Family

Prince Harry's in Paradise as he unveils the Queen's Canopy on Fraser Island

The Duke of Sussex unveiled a new plaque on behalf of The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy initiative.

By Juliet Rieden

His father Prince Charles was the first to unveil the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy plaque in Bundaberg earlier this year.

And today, a thoughtful Prince Harry followed in his father's footsteps, travelling to the heart of the rainforest on World Heritage Fraser Island to unveil the plaque for a second time.

With the majestic ancient trees towering overhead it was a pretty special moment as Prince Harry was welcomed to K'gari, or Paradise, by the traditional owners of Fraser Island.

In a space between satinay trees in Pile Valley, the Duke of Sussex received a smoking ceremony blessing from the the Butchulla People, the Traditional Owners of this land.

The Prince had arrived on the island off Queensland's Hervey Bay this morning.

He was to have been accompanied by his wife Duchess Meghan, but the pregnant royal pulled out of the ceremony that could only be reached by a long jolting four-wheel drive journey along rough sand roads.

WATCH: Prince Harry splashes about in the water of Lake Mackenzie. Post continues...

Prince Harry meets with the young women of the K'gari tribe under the Queens Canopy. *(Image: Getty)*
Prince Harry meets with the young women of the K'gari tribe under the Queens Canopy. (Image: Getty)

After a special walk to the island's Big Tree, a satinay 1000 years old that survived Fraser's logging past, he emerged into a clearing to a rapturous welcome.

Aunty "Mally" Clarke drew laughter from the crowd and the Prince when she called out: "He's even better looking in person."

"I'll take that as a compliment," Harry said from behind the microphone set up in the forest clearing.

"He's my sort, I wish I was young again," the 72-year-old told The Weekly afterwards.

Prince Harry is the second royal Mally has met, the last being Princess Alexandra in 1959.

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"He's even better looking in person!" Mally said of Prince Harry. (*Image: supplied)*
"He's even better looking in person!" Mally said of Prince Harry. (Image: supplied)

Harry told the hundred-plus crowd of media and guests that it was his pleasure to add the K'gari/Fraser forest to the Queens Commonwealth Canopy before the Butchulla performed a number of traditional story dances.

He joked that he was good at unveiling plaques, that it ran in the family!

The Prince shook hands with each dancer before an impromptu meet and greet among those gathered in the forest before leaving to see the crystal clear fresh waters of the island's iconic Lake McKenzie and a trip along the beach.

Among those present were Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and traditional owners of the Bulburin area in central Queensland, the second Australian location added to the Canopy.

During his speech, Harry joked that he was good at unveiling plaques because it ran in the family. *(Image: supplied)*
During his speech, Harry joked that he was good at unveiling plaques because it ran in the family. (Image: supplied)

Satinay trees from Fraser Island were used in the 1930s to rebuild London's docks, thanks to their capacity not to rot while submerged in water.

"It's been absolutely brilliant to have Prince Harry here and means so much to everyone," an excited Premier Palaszczuk, who was wearing a white embroidered wrap dress made by local designer Daniel Moore told The Weekly.

"When it was mooted to have a nomination for the Queen's Canopy in Queensland I said yes leave it with us. This is such a beautiful place and the Prince's words were lovely. It is a shame that the Duchess couldn't make it but I think everyone understands that she has a very hectic schedule."

The plaque in all its glory. (*Image: supplied)*
The plaque in all its glory. (Image: supplied)

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