Home Royal NewsPrince Charles and Camilla Prince Charles in Cairns on #RoyalVisitAustralia: church, meeting naval officers & a smoking ceremony

Prince Charles in Cairns on #RoyalVisitAustralia: church, meeting naval officers & a smoking ceremony

by Joe Worthington

On yet another busy day on tour in Australia, Prince Charles toured Cairns, attended a church service, visited HMAS Cairns naval base, was honoured at a traditional smoking ceremony, as well as taking in a basketball game.

The first stop for Charles was a morning church service at the St John the Evangelist Anglican Church in central Cairns. Alongside Bishop of North Queensland Bill Ray and Reverend Rod Gooden, he met parishioners, including one woman who, 40 years ago, kissed the Prince on live TV! Leila Sherwood first met Charles when she was 14.

Ms Sherwood presented Charles with a newspaper clipping to refresh his memory. She said: “I broke through a barrier and jumped out in front of him. I said, ‘Charles, may I kiss you? He said, ‘Yes, all right then.’

“So I pecked his cheek. I was all over the TV afterwards.”

During his time spent greeting the crowds, The Prince of Wales also met an aboriginal woman who was so thrilled to meet him that she broke down in tears. She asked: “Excuse me Prince Charles, can I shake your hand?” I’m an Aboriginal woman, please can I shake your hand for the first time.”

The 69-year-old immediately walked over to Ms Kulla Kulla and shook her hand, as she told him she was named after his mother, Elizabeth.

Next up, the heir to the throne visited HMAS Cairns naval base, one of the Australian Navy’s largest naval bases. He was there to meet defence staff and to present the prestigious Gloucester Cup, an award for the Royal Australian Navy unit displaying the highest level of overall proficiency for the year.

prince charles presents the gloucester cup at cairns naval base (clarence house)

This year the Hydrographic Ship Blue Crew – which is based in Cairns – won the award in recognition of its performance in 2017. It is the first hydrographic unit to win in the Cup’s 71 year history.

The royal visitor boarded HMAS Leeuwin to meet the crew and their families who are based at the Cairns naval base. As the royal ensign was hoisted up the flagpole, Charles spoke to the crew about his own military career in the 1970s, as both a pilot and naval commander.

“That time I spent with the hydrographic service enabled me to understand its vital importance to the navy,” Charles said. “I even took part in the salvage of a merchant ship, something I discovered which proved rather beneficial to the ship’s company — in descending order from the commanding officer.”

the prince of wales poses with australian naval officers in cairns (clarence house)

The future King later visited the Cairns base of the Royal Flying Doctor, a vital lifeline for the many rural communities in this part of Australia, and a charity close to Charles’ heart as patron. He met the flying doctors and unveiled the newest aircraft – the B350 Super King Air was named ‘Outback Angel’.

He also took part in a video chat with a family in the Gilberton Station, a remote area that benefits from the Royal Flying Doctor service. Gilberton Station owner Lyn French told the Royal her daughter had been flown to Townsville earlier that morning after she was thrown from her horse. After offering his best wishes, the heir to the throne went on to talk about his riding background.

prince charles names the new flying doctor place – outback angel (clarence house)

prince charles takes a peep inside the flying medical unit (clarence house)

“Having come off horses so many times myself the great thing is to get on again straight away,” he said.

At his next engagement, Prince Charles visited the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest and joined roundtable discussions on sustainable forestry, followed by a guided tour of the Ngadiku Dreamtime walk to learn about the relationship that the aboriginal Kuku Yalanji people have with their environment.

He has also attended talks on coral resilience during his time in Australia and found out about how Prince’s Trust Australia has helped local turtles.

The Prince of Wales attended a traditional smoking ceremony with Roy Gibson, a Kuku Yalanji elder. The smoking ceremony is said to ward off evil spirits that lurk amongst the trees in the forest, and is a major part of the Kuku Yalanji heritage.

Whilst there, he also got to grips with a hunting boomerang, and learnt how people use the forest to live.

On the final stop of the very busy day, Prince Charles attended the Commonwealth Games basketball heat between New Zealand and India (New Zealand won!). The Prince was accompanied by Laura Jackson, a professional Australian basketball player, who was talking him through the rules of the game.

After the match he met some of the players on the court.

Embed from Getty Images

the prince of wales meets the new zealand basketball team after their match (clarence house)

Today (his 13th wedding anniversary), Prince Charles is in Gove and Darwin. We will have more for you later.

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