Royals next stop: Australia

Last updated 18:09 16/04/2014

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been greeted by wild applause by thousands of people on their arrival at the Sydney Opera House.

The royal couple stepped from their royal motorcade at the western side of the Opera House just after 3pm Wednesday.

They were met by NSW Governor Marie Bashir and her husband Sir Nicholas Shehadie, as well as NSW government representative, Don Harwin MLC.

Both Kate and William waved to the crowd, which on each occasion responded with huge cheers. But the young royals weren't able to meet those who turned out to catch a glimpse of them.

William and Kate greeted the dignitaries, before making their way up the western stairs to the Concert Hall for an official reception.

Before stepping inside, Kate and William took in some of the stunning sights of Sydney Harbour on a gorgeous, sunny autumn afternoon.

About 400 guests attended the reception, including former Australian cricket fast bowler Glenn McGrath and Australian Women's Cricket Team member Ellyse Perry, along with children dressed to represent all nations competing in the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

During a short speech, the duke said he was bowled over by  Sydney during his 2010 visit and his wife had been looking forward  to coming to NSW.

‘‘My last visit to Australia — in 2011 — was at a sad and testing  time for the nation.  A cyclone followed by flooding had devastated  lives and property in Queensland and bushfires had ravaged the  State of Victoria,’’ he said.

‘‘I am sorry to return to find that, yet again, fellow  Australians in north Queensland are coping with the aftermath of  another destructive cyclone.

‘‘Australia has much to contend with at the moment: your  contribution to the ongoing search for MH370 has earned respect in  every quarter of the globe.

‘‘Australia ’s determined and leading role in the search is at  the very edge of technological ability and human endurance.

‘‘You have also responded with great generosity in the past few  days to the natural disaster afflicting the Solomon Islands, which  is suffering dreadfully from floods and successive earthquakes.’’

The Prince said his grandmother the Queen had spoken recently of  how, since her first visit here 60 years ago, she had been  privileged to witness Australia’s growing economy and flowering  self-confidence.

He joked that he suspected Prince George’s  first word might be  ’bilby’ — ‘‘only because ’koala’ is harder to say’’.

When they stepped out into the Sydney sunshine, the royal couple were greeted with more cheers and applause.

Kate wore a bright yellow fitted dress by Serbian-born, London-based designer Roksanda Ilinic, while William looked smart in a navy suit.

They walked down the Opera House steps towards a crowd that had  been waiting patiently for hours for the first glimpse of the royal couple since they arrived in Australia.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge slowly made their way to make  their way long the parapet accepting gifts of flowers and posing  for ‘‘selfies’’ until reaching the Man O’ War steps where they were  farewelled by the Governor and Sir Nicholas and Mr Harwin.

They  boarded a police launch for the brief ride across Sydney Harbour to  the Admiralty House wharf.


- AAP

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