The team at Living Local Magazine were thrilled to be granted media access to follow the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their recent visit to Australia.
It wasn’t so long ago that Princess Diana first brought her son William to our country: “My mother’s deep affection for Australia needs no reminder,” the Prince shared. With a nod to past and present, Australia gave the next generation of Royal Family a warm welcome, perfect weather and adoring crowds. Stealing private moments wherever possible between their jam-packed itinerary, William and Kate – with their new and adorable son Prince George – were able to have an unforgettable first family trip to Australia. We captured their first 5 days; we hope you enjoy what we felt was a refreshing Royal visit mixing both business with pleasure.
Please see our photos with a short description below as we follow the Royals on their Sydney tour.
SYDNEY AIRPORT – Wednesday 16 April 2014
Picked up in a bus from the Blu Emu car park, with high security surrounding us we (the media) were walked to a front viewing position on the tarmac. Eagerly waiting for the royal touch-down.
When the royals touched down in Sydney they were met by a line-up of dignitaries including Prime Minister Tony Abbott and wife Margie, the Queen’s representative in Australia, Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne.
Joscelyn Sweeny (aged 22 from Vincentia, NSW) was given the honour to present the Duchess of Cambridge flowers on their arrival to Australia. Her mother wrote to the Duke and Duchess to share her daughter’s great admiration and affection for Their Royal Highnesses and how it has had a profound and positive impact on Jocelyn, who has down Syndrome.
”It was such an honour to be able to join William and Catherine at various events in Sydney. Whether it was visiting wonderful Bear Cottage, Manly Beach or the Easter Sunday Service at St James, the Duke and Duchess were interested, open and warm with everyone they met. Both were clearly enjoying the opportunity to show our beautiful country to baby George”
The royal entourage: starting from the top we have Sophie Agnew who is PA to the private secretary of the Duchess of Cambridge, Rebecca Deacon (Rebecca is not in the shot); then we have Kate’s hairdresser, Amanda Cook Tucker; and mystery lady in the front. Can anyone tell us who she is?
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE – Wednesday 16 April 2014
Straight from Sydney Airport the Royals arrived at their first iconic location, Sydney Opera House to attend a reception with up to 400 guests. Afterwards, Kate and William spent time meeting the crowd gathered at the Sydney Opera House. It’s Kate’s first visit to Australia, but William has been three times before – as a baby (at the same age as George), in 2010, and again in 2011 (following Cyclone Yasi, Queensland floods and bushfires in Victoria).
“There cannot be a more impressive place than the iconic Sydney Opera House to begin our first visit together to Australia.”
ADMIRALTY HOUSE – Wednesday 16 April 2014
William and Kate arrived at Admiralty House after the reception in Sydney Opera House. “Wombat” was Prince William’s nickname given to him by his mother. The wombat was given to Prince George by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
SYDNEY ROYAL EASTER SHOW – Friday 18 April 2014
The royals arrived at the Sydney Royal Easter Show just before 11am on Good Friday to walk around the show grounds and unveil a plaque in the new Southee and Badgery Pavilion, home to the Show’s arts and crafts, fashion and style and flower and garden displays. Kate wearing a broderie anglaise dress by Zimmermann with wedge sandals.
”I had the honour of presenting the Duchess with a bouquet of Australian native flowers – she was delightful and appreciated the gift. She was interested and curious to know what was in the posy”
As the Royal couple entered the Cox Pavilion, where a sheep shearing display was under way. The Duke and Duchess met sheep farmer, Jim Murray and his six-year-old merino ram, named Fred, made them smile when he welcomed them with a bow. The royal couple stroked Fred and fed him some of his favourite treats, pieces of apple.
“He’s [Fred] very intelligent, sheep are highly trainable if they’re treated right. I only found out they [Duke and Duchess] wanted him to do this a fortnight ago. The Duke and Duchess were very impressed with his size and stature and how soft his wool was”
BEAR COTTAGE MANLY – Friday 18 April 2014
After the Royal Easter Show the Duke and Duchess spent time with the brave kids, parents and staff at Manly children’s hospice Bear Cottage. Bear Cottage provides palliative care, temporary respite, end of life care and bereavement support to children – the only children’s hospice in NSW. Before leaving Kate spoke to the small crowd at Bear Cottage saying the trip with Prince William and George had been “very special” and she would remember it with “fond and happy memories”.
“You got a real sense of compassion coming from both Kate and William. They are lovely people and you could tell they actually wanted to be at Bear Cottage”
“Their presence also focused national and international attention on the great work done by the staff at Bear Cottage – which is dedicated to caring for children with life-limiting conditions and their families”
MANLY BEACH – Friday 18 April 2014
Young Surf Lifesavers from Sydney’s northern beaches were delighted to show off their skills in a colourful demonstration at Manly Beach on Friday 18 April for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Kate still wearing a broderie anglaise dress by Zimmermann with 4-inch-high wedge sandals (no challenge for Kate who was unperturbed by the unsteady ground, not taking them off once).
“Surf Lifesavers are internationally-recognised Australian icons, but this event took our exposure to a whole new level and the kids had an absolute ball”
“As I approach the Media Meeting Point at Manly Beach I can feel the intensity rising. Police try to control the excitable crowd as we – two hundred members of the media – are escorted to our area. It’s a contest to get the best spot. I place well, next to the Channel Ten cameraman, along with UK reporters, journalists and many photographers who want “The Shot”. The Royals arrive. Excitement is at a maximum; my camera clicks continuously. Kate charms the crowd as she walks to the sand with Tony Abbott, Mike Baird and the Duke leading the way. Down on the beach, the Royal Couple seem to thoroughly enjoy the activities and engage well with the Sydneysiders. The media aren’t getting much attention (unfortunately!) with the Royals mostly having their backs to us. Some media yell out for them to turn around, but the Royals have their priorities right and are focussed on chatting with the locals. Manly Beach looks fabulous and I can’t help but think Kate and William would love to dive into the sea. The Royals depart and the intensity declines to a calm buzz, I keep running over the events in my head – it was sooooo much fun!”
Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge receive Prince George’s first surfboard at Manly Beach.
ST ANDREW’S CATHEDRAL – Sunday 20 April 2014
The royals spent Easter Sunday morning at St Andrew’s Cathedral’s Easter service. Kate looked elegant wearing a dove grey Alexander McQueen, funnel neck coat with a Jane Taylor hat. They sang the classic hymn In Christ Alone and Archbishop Glenn Davies spoke on John 11. Invited to the Easter service by the Minister of St Philip’s Church Hill, Rev. Justin Moffatt, to sign the Bible and Prayer Book which were brought out on the First Fleet and used by Australia’s first chaplain, Richard Johnson.
“They were surprised to see so many of his family’s signatures: his parents and grandparents and great grandparents signatures”
Local Magazine asked Rev. Justin Moffatt: Why is there such a draw in society to the royals or people of significance?
“I guess there are two answers to this question … [first] we like the romance of royalty: the wealth, the clothing, the history and the fame attached to this couple. But there is [also] a deeper answer that is drawn from Christian faith. The royal couple came to church as representatives of an earthly kingdom yet we stood together under one roof worshiping King Jesus ruler of the Heavenly kingdom. I think we see echoes of that kind of honour and excitement… in the way we treat the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”
“My wife, Laurel and I met The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge because I am the Senior Minister of Australia’s oldest Parish (St Philip’s Church Hill) and we have the Bible and the Prayer Book of Rev Richard Johnson, the first minister in Australia. Johnson brought these books on the First Fleet and they have been signed by various Royalty for the last 90 years. The Duke and Duchess were very down to earth and genuinely inquisitive. They were surprised to see so many of his family’s signatures: his parents and grandparents and great grandparents signatures. Kate pointed out the signatures of Albert (George VI) and Edward (Edward VIII, who abdicated to marry Mrs Simpson). They wanted to know about the ink blots from the pens of the first Christian marriages in Australia. I let them know that I followed their wedding service by reading along with Richard Johnson’s Prayer Book. They were impressed that the book was in ‘good nick’. They are quite relaxed and chatty people! I also gave them an essay on what motivated Richard Johnson to come to Australia: that the souls of convicts are precious in God’s sight.”
TARONGA ZOO – Sunday 20 April 2014
Before arriving, Kate changed from her elegant church attire into a primrose yellow, broderie anglaise dress, by an anonymous local designer, at Admiralty House. We (the media) waited for over an hour for our bus to take us to the royals at the zoo’s security entrance. Security being high, we went through the normal procedure of placing all of our camera gear in a line, for a sniffer dog to give us the ok, before being driven to our positions.
Awash in sunshine and packed with people, Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were introduced to some of Australia’s unique and endangered wildlife at Taronga Zoo, while officially opening the zoo’s new Bilby exhibit named in honour of their son, Prince George.
“We were honoured to be visited by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to acknowledge the official gift of the Australian Government celebrating the birth of their son, Prince George. This gift has enabled Taronga Zoo to expand its role in the regional breeding and recovery program for Bilbies, which are a vulnerable species, with the intention to breed and release these beautiful animals back into the wild in the future.”
“They were very friendly. I think they enjoyed their experience and I definitely enjoyed meeting them. More than anything else, it was a wonderful chance to show the amazing diversity of wildlife we have here in Australia.”
Paul Davies, British-born keeper of Australian fauna – invited the Royals to allow their son to touch a Bilby. Kate, keeping a wary eye on her exuberant son, replied: “No, he will have one ear less.”
The Royal couple also received a demonstration of Taronga’s new Wildlife Witness app, developed in partnership with TRAFFIC, which enables users to report illegal wildlife trade using their smartphones. See our app review here. While the nanny took Prince George back to Admiralty House, William and Kate went on to take in the sights of the zoo. They were captivated by the bird show, which included iconic Australian birds and mammals such as koalas, echidnas and quokkas, and the show also featured Harry the brolga – “he’s the red head,” the MC said, drawing a chuckle from William at the expense of his younger brother.
When Kate was introduced to Leuca, the koala, she reached out gingerly to stroke the animal’s grey fur. “This is the moment everyone has been waiting for.” Said her husband.
When it was time to finally leave, the royal tourists left to a standing ovation from the delighted audience. We hope you enjoyed our Royal experience.