UK & World News

  • 24 April 2014, 9:19

Royal Tour: Prince George Wom-Batty About Oz

The Duke of Cambridge has thanked Australians for their warm reception and revealed Prince George has taken to chewing the cuddly wombat toy he was given at the start of their visit.

In a speech at Parliament House in Canberra, William said: "Reluctantly, Catherine, George and I leave Australia tomorrow.

"Thank you for the warmth and generosity that has been shown to us during our visit.

"We go away with wonderful memories, and George goes away with his cuddly wombat, which he has taken to chewing so lovingly."

In the speech, his second of the tour, he praised Australia's Aboriginal people for being the custodians of the land, as well as saying he admired the country's arts, sciences, sporting achievements and the role it plays in global trade and affairs.

"Australia has a quality of life and a level of excellence that makes it a magnet: an enormously attractive place to live, trade, invest, and indeed just visit," he said.

"We greatly look forward to coming back. And when we do return, it will be to marvel again at all that Australia is, and will yet become."

William and Kate earlier released a statement saying they were "saddened" by the news that the Duchess of Cornwall's brother, Mark Shand, had died suddenly in New York.

The arrangements for the packed final two days of the tour have remained unchanged, however.

The Royal pair planted an English oak tree at the National Arboretum in Canberra and also toured a children's playground before the Parliament House reception held by the Australian Prime Minister.

Tony Abbott, well known as a monarchist, risked upsetting republicans in his speech.

He told the couple: "Many decades hence, when a currently unknowable Australian prime minister welcomes your son, King George VII, to this building, that will be a sign of the stability and the continuity in the life of our nation."

The Royal couple also visited the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra where Kate was given a bunch of flowers by three-year-old Wilhelmina Dreghorn.

Her mother Keely told Sky News: "My sister-in-law works at the gallery and they had a ballot and she was picked randomly.

"I have no idea what they talked about but it looked very intimate. I had tears in my eyes, it was very sweet."

Friday is the final day of the three-week tour and the Duke and Duchess will join in events marking Anzac Day, when those who have died serving their country are remembered.

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