Red rock: William and Kate in front of Uluru in the Northern Territory. - AFP
ULURU: Britain’s Prince William visited Australia’s Uluru, taking his wife Kate to the spectacular red monolith and evoking the visit by his parents Prince Charles and Diana in 1983.
On arrival at Yulara airport after flying over the landmark formerly known as Ayers Rock yesterday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were met by officials including traditional land owner Daisy Walkabout, who had also welcomed William’s parents.
“We’re happy to meet them, like we were happy to meet (Charles and Diana) in the past,” Walkabout said.
“They’ve travelled a lot and now they will come to see this country, and it will be good to know they have seen Uluru, which is so hugely significant not just for a small group of people but a whole range of people that are related and connected to this place.”
The young royals, who are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand with their baby son George, have been warmly received Down Under where crowds have turned out in droves to see them and thrust dozens of gifts at them.
Kate, wearing a patterned sun-frock, looked relaxed for the trip with her husband, who ditched his suit for cream trousers and a casual khaki shirt.
The pair were welcomed to the region by Aboriginal elders with song and a special dance rarely seen in public.
William and Kate sat and watched as ochre-painted dancers performed, while traditional owners of Uluru, the Anangu, sang and beat clapping sticks.
At the time of Prince Charles and Diana’s tour, visitors often made the perilous climb up the rock, despite this being against the express wishes of the traditional owners the Anangu to whom the site is sacred.
But the Duke and Duchess walked along the base of Uluru, guided by traditional owner Sammy Wilson who was tasked with explaining some of the traditional stories of the World Heritage-listed site. — AFP