Just when they probably thought they'd seen it all, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met an orc from Lord of the Rings while visiting New Zealand, Entertainment Tonight reported. Yes, you read that correctly: they met an orc — one of the sallow, decrepit, humanoid creatures of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy world, live and in person. OK, so technically, they met an actor dressed up as an orc, but they're reactions were pretty priceless, nonetheless.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their close encounter with the fictional villain while visiting the Courtenay Creative in Wellington, New Zealand. The Creative is a place for youths to "Connect, Collaborate and Cultivate," according to their website, and "[supports] hands on practical learning and interaction experiences that deliver versatile and transferable skill sets and viable career pathways into [entertainment] industry." Lord of the Rings, of course, was filmed in New Zealand, hence the orc connection.
Hannah Furness, the royal correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, captured the couple's initial entrance into the Creative, as well as their introduction to the orc in a video posted to Twitter. In the clip, Harry and Markle are first met by two armor-clad guards at the door. (Insert "You shall not pass" joke here.)
After the guards step aside and allow them to walk through, Harry and Meghan are immediately confronted by countless flashbulbs in their faces. Through them all, though, Harry instantly spots the orc to his left, and pretty much stops dead in his tracks.
While it's unclear what Harry said as he turned to one of the iron-clad guards in that exact moment, it's easy to imagine that perhaps he stuttered something like, "Is that really an orc?" According to the actual orc actor (as per Furness' Twitter video caption) both Harry and Markle seemed "quite scared" by his appearance, and like, duh — of course they were. Those things are pretty creepy.
The royal couple also met all kinds of characters during their visit to the Creative, many of which can be seen in a video posted by Kensington Palace on Twitter. There's people with intricately-painted skull-like faces, long-haired warriors, a sweetly smiling monkey, brightly-costumed ladies with extravagant headpieces, and then there's Harry and Markle — standing in the middle of them all, tightly clasping onto each other's hands.
Harry was actually pretty hands-on with the characters, as the Kensington Palace video captured him getting up close and personal to check out the details of their costumes. Markle seemed a bit more apprehensive about the whole thing, and kept her hands in the pockets of her dress for the most part.
Regardless, it looks like a lovely time was had by all. The pair is nearing the end of their first official royal tour, which began in Sydney, Australia on Oct. 16. They'll wrap things up in Rotorua, New Zealand on Oct. 31 — at that point they'll have fulfilled more than 70 engagements — and then head back home to London, where, hopefully, the newly expecting couple will be able to catch up on some much needed, orc-free rest.