UK & World News

  • 16 April 2014, 19:06

William And Kate Touch Down For Oz Trip

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in Australia with their son George for the second part of their Antipodean tour.

The royal couple touched down on Australian soil to whoops of delight from waiting crowds.

Many of them had been waiting hours to see the family arrive, with a teenage girl and her mother saying they had come especially from Lebanon "to see Kate, George and, of course, William".

The visit comes as a newly published poll shows the royals are increasingly popular among Australians, with support for a republic in Australia dropping to its lowest level in more than two decades.

The Duchess carried a wriggling baby George down the steps of the aircraft and then handed him over to his father so she could accept a bouquet of flowers.

The couple travelled on to Sydney for the start of their 10-day tour, as crowds of people 10 deep surged forward to greet the royals on their arrival at the iconic landmark on the harbour.

One well-wisher, Ailsa Martin from the Bondi area, had been queuing from the early hours.

"We've been waiting for this moment for such a long time. I can't believe they are here at last. Kate even arrived in yellow for Australia."

Australia has seen a resurgence in support for the royal family in recent times, especially among younger generations.

Adam Scott from North Sydney said: "The rest of the world thinks we are against the monarchy. But really we want it as much as places like New Zealand."

In a speech at the reception, William said he and his wife had been looking forward to the visit for a long time.

He reminded his audience of the special place Australia had in the heart of his grandmother, the Queen.

He said: "Her Majesty spoke recently of how, since her first visit here 60 years ago, she has been privileged to witness Australia's growing economy and flowering self-confidence.

"For Catherine, Harry and me, born in the early 80s, we've never known anything else - Australia and Australians have always been for us a beacon of confidence, creativity in the arts and sporting ability."

The proud father could not resist mentioning his firstborn, saying: "I don't think I could finish these brief words to you without mentioning one other family member, George, who is now busy forging his own link with Australia.

"Catherine and I were very grateful for the many kind messages and gifts from across the country that we received when George was born."

The eight-month-old prince is expected to make an appearance on Sunday when his parents take him to Taronga zoo in Sydney, where an enclosure housing bilbys - a rabbit-like marsupial - will be named after him.

William joked: "I suspect George's first word might be 'bilby' - only because koala is harder to say. We really look forward to our time here together as a family."

The Duke and Duchess left the Opera House to screams and shouts as the "Kate effect" took hold.

 

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