The Royal tour ended today with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attending a final engagement before they and Prince George boarded a plane to head home to London.
William and Catherine began their last day in Australia with a surprise appearance at the Dawn Service for ANZAC Day at the Australian War Memorial. The Duke and Duchess attended the ceremony at 5:30am with the Governor-General and his wife, who accommodated the Cambridges at Government House in Canberra on their tour. VC winner Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith said: “It was very humbling to have them here”.
The Royals returned to the War Memorial for the morning service and had a tour of the building there, and the Duke inspected the marches as they filed past. The Duchess left a hand written note on the tomb of the unknown soldier which read: “In every second of every day, you will be remembered for your courage and your bravery. Thank you for your sacrifice and for what you have done for us. For that, I am truly grateful.” William and Catherine then went on to plant a Aleppo Pine seedling derived from seeds gathered after the Battle of Lone Pine at Gallipoli.
ANZAC day is a national day of remembrance to mark the day the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the shores of Gallipoli where they suffered heavy casualties. Over the years, ANZAC day has morphed into a national day of remembrance and thanks. While we still honour those soldiers that died on the beaches in a foreign land, we now honour all of our Australian Defence Personnel past and present.
Just after 2pm Canberra time the Royal motorcade rolled into RAAF base Fairbairn to be greeted by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margie. The motorcade was also greeted by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lady Lynn, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and federal opposition leader the Honourable Bill Shorten MP. The royals met AFP officers who had been providing motorcade escort services for them on their tour in the ACT.
William, Catherine and George then boarded the plane before stopping on the landing to wave at the people of the public that came to see them off. The 19 day Royal tour was undoubtedly successful, with Prince George being the star.
As an Australian, I would like to say that the Duke and Duchess, in fact any member of the Australian Royal Family, are most welcome on our shores. The Cambridges were gracious guests and we look forward to repeat visits in the future.
Photo credit: Brent Hunter ©