Sydney put on the perfect day for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who in turn did their best to wow the crowds.
It’s been a very Good Friday for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and for their host – Sydney.
The bright young stars of the British royal family have attracted thousands to every event they’ve had since arriving in Australia on Wednesday, and this perfect, autumn day was no different.
From their visit to the Royal Easter Show to stepping onto the famous sands of Manly beach, there was no let up in the enthusiasm.
Kate wowed by wearing a white cotton lace dress by Australian designer sisters, Nicole and Simone Zimmermann to Friday’s events.
But it wasn’t just about cheering crowds. The royal couple also spent an hour with sick children and their families at the Bear Cottage hospice in Manly, one of only two such hospices in Australia and a cause very close to Kate’s heart.
The duchess, who is royal patron of the East Anglia Children’s Hospice in the UK and has also visited children’s hospices in Malaysia and New Zealand.
In her first speech of the Australian visit, the duchess told parents, staff and kids, it was “wonderful to be here today”.
“The haven that you have created here is inspirational, and there is so much that you can share with each other as you continue to support and nurture those in your care,” the duchess told the packed room that included Prime Minister Tony Abbott and NSW Premier Mike Baird.
She also used the opportunity to thank Australia for their welcome.
“To be here together as a family has been very special and we will always remember it with fond and happy memories,” she said.
“Thank you for inviting us here and for such a generous welcome.”
Everyone who has had the chance to say hello to Kate or William – or just catch a glimpse of them – has been delighted.
Sophie Martyr, 16, was still shaking after making the presentation to the royal pair at Bear Cottage.
“It was amazing, it was unforgettable,” she told AAP.
At the show, Margaret Bryant and her pals Margaret Wright and Marie Whiteman – all in their 80s – arrived in Sydney from Cowra at 3am (AEST) to see the Cambridges.
“They’re such a lovely couple. They’re so much in love,” Ms Bryant from Cowra told AAP.
“I thought they were spectacular and I’m glad they’ve come,” Ms Wright said.
Kate and William took in some displays at the show, with Kate light-heartedly ribbing her husband when inspecting a display featuring alpaca wool.
“The princess said (the Duke) should put some on his head,” said Lyn Cregan, 67, from Glen Innes.
“She pointed at him and said ‘You need it more than me.’ He laughed.”
However, like many eight-month-olds, Prince George was deemed too young to see the show – but it didn’t mean he was forgotten.
A trolley was brought to cope with number of presents being offered by the crowds – including books, Possum Magic and Peppa Pig toys and bouquets.
At Manly, there was barely room to move behind the cordoned-off areas. The royal couple were delighted with the late afternoon surf lifesaving display. There was also another present for George – a surfboard.
Kate told former world ironwoman champion Naomi Flood that she was loving being in Australia.
Prince William chimed in: “We are just trying to see more.”
That will happen on Saturday, when for the first time they head interstate to Amberley RAAF base and Brisbane.
On Sunday, they’ll visit Taronga’s Zoo before moving camp to Canberra. Next week, Uluru and Adelaide are on the itinerary.