The welcome and the sun were warm when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stepped onto the sands of Sydney’s Manly beach.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott – in a jacket not Speedos – was on hand to welcome the royal couple to the iconic beach in his electorate.
But it was the thousands who crowded around the beach who seemed the most excited.
Prince William and Kate will watch a surf lifesaving display – a very Australian event.
But the royal couple aren’t getting the sand between their toes – they’ve kept their shoes on.
Before the beach, the Duke and Duchess visited Manly’s Bear Cottage.
The visit to the palliative care hospice in Manly is of special importance to the duchess, who is the royal patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices in the UK and visited Rainbow Place, a similar facility in New Zealand.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, his wife Margie and new NSW Premier Mike Baird welcomed the couple to Bear Cottage, one of only two children’s hospices in Australia. The other is Hummingbird House in Brisbane.
“Part of Bear Cottage is about creating happy memories for children whose lives are shortened, and this is certainly going to create a very happy memory for those families,” the centre’s nursing unit manager, Narelle Martin, told AAP.
“To the families it means a lot to them – a really memorable memory.”
The Royal Show
Visiting the sheep shearing and arts and crafts, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took a traditional stroll through Sydney’s Royal Easter Show.
A huge crowd was on hand to watch the couple as they were greeted by Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Glenn Dudley and his wife Jennifer.
The royal couple have visited the produce display, spoken to sheep owners, watched a sheep being shorn and met Fred the Ram.
Fred The Ram is introduced to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at bathe Royal Easter Show in Sydney pic.twitter.com/M7U6d5abAh
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) April 18, 2014
Kate is wearing a white lace dress by Sydney sisters Nicole and Simone Zimmerman – the first Australian design she has worn so far on the visit. Prince William is wearing a suit with a pale blue tie.
The Zimmerman $495 white/cream cotton lace “Roamer” day dress dress won’t be in stores until June, and is bound to sell out.
The sisters behind the brand – Nicole and Simone Zimmermann – have come a long way since they started out selling clothes at Sydney’s Paddington Markets in the 1990s.
Last week, they were awarded the seventh Australian Fashion Laureate title at Australian Fashion Week, and now the “Kate effect” is certain to boost their profile even further.
Just to prove the Kate effect, the Zimmermann website froze as soon as word emerged that she was wearing their design.
Baby Prince George has been left behind at Admiralty House with his nanny.
It’s a perfect Sydney autumn day for the morning at the show. They are scheduled to view exhibits and a crafts exhibition at the show.
The pair will then view sheep shearing and wool handling, meet the 2013 Wool4Skool program winner – who designed a dress for the Duchess of Cambridge – and sign the visitor book.
Later on Friday they will go to Manly to visit children’s hospice, Bear Cottage, then they’ll head to Manly beach for a surf lifesaving display.
Thousands turn out
There were thousands of people at the Royal Easter Show hoping to catch a glimpse of the couple. Here are their reactions on social media.
Royal Easter Show! So far: four show bags, one chips on a stick, one hotdog, two royals and a cat judging show. http://t.co/c8p6rulwtD
— Rosemary Slade (@rosemaryslade) April 18, 2014
— ITV News (@itvnews) April 18, 2014
— Mark Stewart (@RegalEyes) April 17, 2014
— 7News Yahoo!7 (@Y7News) April 17, 2014