Prince Harry’s number one fan in Australia has died at the age of 99.
From the moment they met in 2015, Daphne Dunne and Harry were fast friends – and media darlings.
Harry, who served 10 years in the British army, first saw Dunne in line outside the Sydney Opera House. He was drawn to the medals pinned to her coat and stopped to chat, The Daily Telegraph reports. The medals came from her late first husband, Albert Chowne, who died in World War II – and she told Harry about working as a corporal in the Australian Women’s Army Service during the war.
Dunne and the royal met twice more after that, both times she waited for him in a crowded line.
He would stop and crouch beside her, and she would put her hand on his face or kiss his cheek. Their encounters made their way onto news websites across the Commonwealth, Good Morning America in the U.S. and even the front page of the Daily Mirror (after which Dunne wrote on Instagram, “Too much excitement for me. I need a nap.”)
But for Harry and Dunne, it was about the little things.
In 2017, she waited in the rain to offer him an ice-cold beer. (He declined, and she later joked that he still owed her a beer). The next year, he complimented her shoes (“very cool”) and her dyed-pink hair.
He also introduced her to his wife, Meghan Markle, in that encounter in 2018.
“It’s so nice to meet you,” Markle told Dunne, taking her hands. As Markle said goodbye, she added, “Hopefully the next time we see you we’ll have our little one with us!”
Dunne told Nine New Sydney before that encounter that she didn’t think Harry had changed much since their earlier meetings. “He’s a natural,” she said. “He just loves what he’s doing, seems to fit in with everything he’s doing, I’m very happy for him. I’m glad he’s got a wife now.”
Dunne died on Monday, her family wrote on Instagram.
“We, her family, would like to thank everyone for the love and support they showed Daphne,” they wrote. “She spent a large part of her life representing the women of the Australian Army and her two husbands Lt. Albert Crowne VC MM and John Patrick Dunne, ensuring that their service to Australia was never forgotten.”
She celebrated her 99th birthday just days before she died and wrote that she received one particularly special birthday card: “A lovely message,” she said, from her friends Harry and Meghan.