On Friday, a week after getting engaged to her longtime boyfriend Chandler Powell, the conservationist, 21, wrote a heartfelt note to her late father about how supportive her younger brother Robert has been during this exciting time.
In the sweet message, Bindi also confirmed that Robert, 15, would be the one to walk her down the aisle at her upcoming wedding to Powell, 22.
“Dad, You would be so incredibly proud of Robert,” she wrote alongside a throwback photo of the Irwin family, as well as one from her engagement photoshoot with her new fiancé and brother, who held Bindi’s hand. “He has been such an amazing support during this beautiful new life chapter.”
“I know you’d be beaming with pride when the time comes that he walks me down the aisle,” Bindi continued, before bittersweetly adding, “I wish you could be here for these moments, but I know that your spirit lives on in us ❤️”
After rising to international fame on his wildlife documentary television series The Crocodile Hunter, Steve was working on an underwater film titled Ocean’s Deadliest when he was attacked by a stingray and died on Sept. 4, 2006, at age 44.
Since the tragedy, Bindi has relied on her mother Terri and her little brother for support through life’s ups and downs, as they’ve worked to keep Steve’s legacy alive and make him proud.
Even though Robert is younger, Bindi previously revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that he played a major role in her life and that she’d like for him to walk her down the aisle in honor of their late father.
“I think that for me, it’ll be really important that Robert walks me down the aisle,” she told the outlet. “That’s something that I really want to do.”
“I’m always so grateful that Robert is there, and he has been such a big part of my life and he’s always stepped up and been the one to give me a hug when I need it and encourage me forward in life,” she added. “So he will definitely be the one to walk me down the aisle when the time comes, and I think that will make it really special.”
Robert was already an important part of Bindi’s engagement last month, working with Powell to secretly take photos of the special moment.
“The most beautiful surprise. Chandler and Robert worked together to capture the moment I said ‘YES’,” Bindi wrote on Instagram and Twitter on Wednesday. “We were in the gardens of Australia Zoo and it was beyond perfect.”
“I never even knew Robert was there photographing and I’ll always be grateful to have these special memories of the most amazing day of my life. ❤️” she added of her sibling’s surprise.
Robert commented on his older sister’s post by sharing his excitement for her engagement. “I was so very happy to capture this beautiful moment!!! Love you guys” he wrote beneath the photos.
In his own post on Instagram, Robert shared two of the photos he had taken and wrote a sweet message to his sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law.
“I’ve photographed some pretty cool stuff in my time… nothing comes close to this,” he said. “I was so happy and thankful that @chandlerpowell asked me to secretively document the moment that @bindisueirwin said yes! One of the most special times ever.”
Last week, Bindi revealed that Powell had popped the question on her 21st birthday after nearly six years together. The pair first met in November 2013, when Powell stopped by the Australian Zoo while Bindi was giving tours.
“On my birthday I said ‘yes’ & ‘forever’ to the love of my life,” she captioned the sweet snaps, which featured a close-up shot of her gorgeous ring. “Chandler, close to 6 years ago I fell in love with you & every day since has been a whirlwind of adventure & true happiness.”
“Here’s to a lifetime of friendship, purpose & unconditional love,” she added.
Bindi also told PEOPLE exclusively, “I am overjoyed to be sharing the news that Chandler and I are engaged! This has been the most special day celebrating my 21st birthday.”
She added, “I’ve met my soulmate and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with Chandler. We’ve been together for nearly 6 years now and he’s my happily ever after.”