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UC students brave hail, rain to see Prince Harry

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DRENCHED: Students endure driving rain to see Prince Harry at the University of Canterbury.
PHOTO: James MacTaggart

Thunder, hail and plunging temperatures didn’t stop Canterbury University students from flocking to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry on Tuesday.

Many of the 500 students gathered in the central quad to see the royal were forced to retreat temporarily into the Puaka-James Hight library when hail set in.

Second-year Law and Commerce student Aaron Jones and his mates peered through the window from the warmth of the library foyer while they waited for the Prince to arrive.

“We’ve caught the royal fever a little bit and Harry’s the entertaining one to watch.”

Outside, stauncher (or better-prepared) students reached for their raincoats as Split Enz’s Six months in a leaky boat belted out across the PA system.

US exchange student Jessica Bernaski braved the elements in a drenched sundress, but said it was worth it to see royalty.

“It’s one step above celebrity.”

LET THEM EAT CAKE: Prince Harry serves treats to wet UC students.
PHOTO: Eliza Ballantyne

Remarkably, when the Prince finally stepped outside to a salute of cell phones, the weather lifted and the crowd rose on tip-toe to record his visit on their mobiles.

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ANTICIPATION: About 500 gather at Canterbury University’s central quad to catch Prince Harry.
PHOTO: James MacTaggart

Prince Harry, who is on a four-day tour of New Zealand, visited the Christchurch campus to meet members of the Student Volunteer Army (SVA), a student network known for mucking in to help clear liquefaction in the aftermath of the city’s 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

He spoke with SVA members and checked out some of the group’s initiatives, including bicycle repairs and vegetable gardening.

Not all students were so interested to see the fifth in line to the throne.

Third-year psychology student Rakel Birgisdottir had forgotten that he was even visiting campus: “I was just heading to the library, but obviously it’s a bit hard to get in there at the moment”.

Children from the university's ECE Centre took to the library steps for a better view.  PHOTO: Eliza Ballantyne
HIGH VIS: Children from the university’s ECE Centre took to the library steps for a better view.
PHOTO: Eliza Ballantyne

_Reporting by Georgina Campbell, Eliza Ballantyne, James MacTaggart and Ashleigh Monk.