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Prince Charles heaps praise on ‘wonderfully kind’ Australians

CANBERRA: Britain’s Prince Charles thanked Australians for being “wonderfully kind” yesterday, as he and wife Camilla wrapped up a six-day tour which has taken them from the Outback to Bondi Beach.
Hundreds of people came to see the royal couple at their final destination in Canberra, with one woman offering the prince a packet of chocolate Tim Tams — a type of biscuit which he had said he hoped someone would allow Camilla to try.
“You’re very kind,” Charles told Alyson Richards, 25, as she handed over the biscuits and wished him a happy birthday for next week.
At a lunch at Government House, Charles said it had been a joy to visit Australia, where the couple had met hundreds of community volunteers, as well as been able to see the local wildlife, including koalas and kangaroos, up close.
“When we finally get back, after a very, very, long journey, if I’m still reasonably compos mentis by then and haven’t completely lost my marbles to jet lag, I will report back to her majesty your wonderfully kind thoughts and expressions after our visit,” he said.
He said while the tour had not allowed them to visit as many places as they would have liked, it enabled them to “witness so many of the changes that have happened here since I was here last.”
“And to witness... the extraordinary vibrancy of the multicultural society which Australia is and which of course has stood Australia in such remarkable stead in terms of the richness and diversity which you can see only too well.”
Earlier Charles watched as one of the terraces of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin was named after the Queen, following a tradition of naming the terraces after Australia’s monarchs since the country became a federal state in 1901.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the renaming would “remind future generations that for more than half of our journey as a united nation, Elizabeth the Second has been our monarch.”
The royal couple arrived in New Zealand late Saturday on the last leg of their tour marking Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee and were met at a military air base in Auckland by Prime Minister John Key.
They will formally begin their six-day visit with a traditional Maori welcome on Sunday at the Auckland War Memorial Museum where they will also commemorate Armistice Day.
They will then travel to Wellington and tour Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop to inspect costumes and props used in “The Hobbit” movies before moving to Christchurch, the scene of devastating earthquakes last year that claimed 185 lives.