THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed in the footsteps of Charles and Diana yesterday, when they visited Australia’s Uluru landmark in the heart of the Outback.
William and Kate initially saw the world-famous site – also known as Ayers Rock – from the air, before visiting it at sunset.
The couple posed for photographs at the beauty spot, which is sacred to the Aboriginals, in a scene reminiscent of the visit of William’s parents, the Prince and Princess of Wales, 31 years ago. Uluru is known as one of Australia’s most romantic locations, so the trip proved timely, as the royal couple will celebrate their third wedding anniversary next week.
Earlier, in a welcome ceremony at a cultural centre in the shadow of the rock, William and Kate watched as Aboriginal Australians performed the stories of creation of their ancestors.
The royal visitors, who sat in the shade to escape the stifling heat, were also presented with gifts. Kate was given a necklace made from painted gumnuts and rich red ininti seeds found in the desert, while William received a hand-made shield called a tjara, which has an ancient history as a defence against spears and clubs.
Before touring the site, the couple visited the National Indigenous Training Academy to present recent hospitality and catering graduates with their certificates. They then went on a brief walkabout, meeting well-wishers who had gathered in the grounds of the academy, including Amanda Bartels, 30, who had driven for five hours with her ten-month-old son Nathan and five-year-old daughter Aimme Grace from Alice Springs to see the royal visitors.
Speaking about Uluru, Kate told Ms Bartels: “It’s absolutely stunning from the air.”
Ms Bartels said after meeting the Duchess: “I asked her if she was missing George and she said she was so I said my son could be her George substitute.’