Five-year-old Luke Vincent got up close and personal with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they landed in Dubbo for the second day of their overseas tour.
The Buninyong Public School pupil was among the 150-strong welcoming party for the royal visit to the New South Wales city, 190 miles from Sydney.
Harry and Meghan also met Royal Flying Doctor Service volunteers and unveiled a new plane to mark the service’s 90 years.
But it was Luke who stole the show, going in for a hug with Harry and rubbing the 34-year-old’s beard, before Meghan also offered a hug.
School principal Anne Van Darrel said the youngster was mesmerised with Harry’s facial hair.
She said: “He got a hug from Meghan and then Harry bent down to speak to him and Luke didn’t give him any choice!”
“Luke’s favourite person in the world is Santa Claus, who has a beard. So he rubbed Harry’s beard.
“It’s been a wonderful experience for these little country kids to meet people they’ve only ever seen on TV.”
Kensington Palace said the Duke was keen to visit regional Australia during the tour, the couple’s first outside the UK and Ireland.
During their day visit to Dubbo, the parents-to-be also met the Woodley family, who have been at their farm since 1887.
Their area of New South Wales has been experiencing the most prolonged period of drought since records began in 1900.
Scott, 57, and Elaine, 56, said they had greatly appreciated the couple’s visit, although had been somewhat shell-shocked at being chosen.
Mr Woodley said: “They were very interested to hear what we have been coping with the last few years.
“We can cope with a few months of drought but this has been two years and the hay has already been affected for next year.
“They seemed to understand exactly what we have been going through.”
Daughter Laura, 23, described the royal visit as “a bit surreal”, adding: “It was an honour and a privilege.”
The family said Meghan had made a cake for them, which they said was “incredibly nice of her”.