Rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of 15,000 people who attended a ceremony in Victoria Park, Dubbo, to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Wednesday.

NSW Nationals Member for Dubbo Troy Grant thanked the royal couple for choosing to visit the city, and said the event had put Dubbo in the international spotlight. It also brought to a head issues such as mental health and the drought, and the surprise unveiling of a little global superstar.

“It was wonderful to meet Prince Harry again, and show him and Meghan our wonderful city,” Mr Grant said. “From the moment they touched down at the airport and met with the schoolkids to when they left, they displayed poise and elegance, and it was terrific that we could show them so many unique sides to our city and region. Those images were beamed around the world, and while the timing of the rain wasn’t ideal I don’t think it bothered anyone. Prince Harry’s message in his speech was genuine and heartfelt, and Meghan had such a casual warmth about her that really showed in the way she interacted with people.”

During the visit the royal couple met with volunteers and staff from the Royal Flying Doctor Service, visited the Woodley family’s farm to discuss the drought, took part in a special ceremony at Victoria Park, and saw the work being done by the Clontarf and Girls Academies.

But the real superstar was Buninyong Public School student Luke Vincent, who stole the hearts of the royal couple and the rest of the world with his display of affection at the airport.

“Luke was such a legend, and I think the way Harry and Meghan embraced him was terrific and shows what great parents they will be,” Mr Grant said. “Those moments will live with all of us forever, and Luke’s family and school community should be proud of what a loving little boy he is.”