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.
“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.