Prince George’s first Royal tour came to an end on Friday as his parents said goodbye to Australia.
After weeks of travelling ‘down under’, William and Kate were left “bowled over” by the warmth of the welcome from well-wishers, said Kensington Palace.
The Royal couple had begun their tour in New Zealand’s capital Wellington, where they experienced a ceremonial welcome from the Maori people.
They then ended the longest Royal tour in a generation in the Australian capital Canberra, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with veterans, current military personnel and the public as they marked Anzac Day, commemorating personnel from Australia and New Zealand who had lost their lives in wartime.
Wherever William and Kate visited, Kiwis and Aussies have shown their affection by handing over presents and waiting for hours to shake their hands – but the real highlight of the tour has been nine-month-old Prince George.
His appearance at a playgroup in Wellington left the Royal fans in raptures, and when he made a trip to a Sydney zoo the baby’s delight being among the animals was clear to see.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “The tour of New Zealand and Australia has been an incredible experience for both The Duke and Duchess and the couple really have enjoyed it immensely.
“We always said this would be an opportunity for the Duke to introduce both countries to the Duchess and Prince George and the couple have been bowled over by the extraordinarily warm welcome shown to them as a family by people everywhere they went.”
After paying their respects to Australia’s war dead at the country’s national war memorial, the Royal couple travelled to a defence establishment in eastern Canberra to board a military jet which would fly them to their connection with a commercial plane.
The baby prince, who has grown noticeably since the start of the tour and has a fuller head of hair, was wearing a red cardigan, white shirt, pink shorts and shoes and looked bright and alert.
On the tarmac the Cambridges were joined by their hosts, governor general Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne, as they said goodbye to a group of dignitaries.
George waved his arms and legs in excitement and Kate had to shift him from one arm to the other as she shook hands.
The baby was a draw for everyone she met and he was touched and stroked.
Last in the line-up was Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, and before the couple climbed the steps Sir Peter said goodbye and gently touched George’s arm.
At the plane’s door the couple turned to wave at a small group of well-wishers at the perimeter fence, posed briefly for the dozens of photographers on the tarmac, then headed inside the waiting aircraft.