Prince Harry chats, shakes hands with Sydney fans
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SYDNEY -- Britain's Prince Harry chatted and shook hands with a throng of excited fans on the Sydney waterfront Saturday as thousands of people celebrated the centenary of the fledgling Australian navy fleet's first visit to the city's famed harbor.
Harry moved frenetically across the surging crowd in The Rocks region of downtown Sydney, conversing with the public, taking outstretched hands and waving to those who were out of reach.
Scores of cameras and cellphones captured up close the 29-year-old prince's only scheduled meeting with the public during his first visit to Australia officially representing his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The fourth in line to the throne had earlier coasted past the Sydney Opera House on board the Australian navy's survey ship HMAS Leeuwin, one of dozens of warships from 17 nations on the sun-dappled harbor this weekend for the International Fleet Review.
The review, essentially a parade of ships, commemorates the arrival of the original Royal Australian Navy fleet a century ago.
Following a 100-gun salute, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who represents the queen, Australia's head of state, joined Harry on board the Leeuwin to officially review the ships.
The prince changed from a crisp white army dress uniform to a gray suit and blue tie to meet the public.
From The Rocks, he took a civilian boat across the harbor to Kirribilli House, Prime Minister Tony Abbott's official Sydney residence.
Harry posed for photographs with Abbott; the prime minister's wife, Margie; and two of their three daughters, Frances and Bridget, on the grounds of the historic mansion before again shaking hands with the public at a front gate.
Guests attending a reception for Harry at Kirribilli House had a commanding view of a 30-minute light show and massive fireworks display Saturday night.
An estimated 1.4 million people lined the harbor shores to watch more than 7.7 tons of fireworks explode from the decks of warships and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as from floating pontoons.
A light show illuminated the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House and illustrated a century of Australian military conflict.
Harry is in Australia's largest city for just one day as part of a quick trip Down Under. He flies to the Western Australia capital, Perth, on Sunday morning for a brief visit before leaving the country.
Australia's first navy fleet of seven cruisers and destroyers entered Sydney's harbor for the first time on Oct. 4, 1913.
About 40 warships, 16 tall ships and 8,000 sailors are participating in this weekend's celebrations. The participating warships are from the U.S., China, Britain, Brunei, Micronesia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and Tonga.
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