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Royal couple wrap up whirlwind SA visit


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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have wrapped up their brief visit to Adelaide by wowing thousands of fans and attending a packed civic reception in the suburb of Elizabeth – named in honour of the Queen.

The royal couple spent about two and a half hours in the north Adelaide suburb on Wednesday after touching down at Edinburgh RAAF base just before 11am local time, following a night camping under the stars at Uluru.

On the youth-themed Adelaide stop, William and Kate visited a community music program – the Northern Sound System – and a nearby skateboard park, before heading to the Playford Civic Centre for their last engagement – an official reception with around 200 guests all aged under 30.

The royal pair were met with wild applause from thousands of fans lining Playford Avenue when they stepped out of the royal motorcade, about 12.30pm.

On a hot and sunny day in Elizabeth, Kate wore a dusty pink Alexander McQueen outfit, while William was in a navy suit and maroon tie.

Ann Hargreaves, 87, was one of the lucky few to speak with the duchess outside the civic centre.

“She (the duchess) said ‘it’s a lot warmer here than it is in England’,” Hargreaves, who was born in London the same year as the Queen, told reporters.

Maurice McCartney, 73, shared a moment with William as he greeted wellwishers.

“I said ‘it’s fantastic to meet you, and he said ‘I’ve got to keep moving’,” said McCartney, who was sporting a diggers slouch hat and a wool Union Jack scarf.

After unveiling a plaque renaming the forecourt of the Civic centre Prince George Plaza – after their nine-month-old son – William and Kate entered the reception accompanied by Acting Premier John Rau and South Australian Governor Kevin Scarce.

After a rendition of the Australian national anthem by a local children’s choir, the couple split up inside the function, mingling with with local volunteers and students.

Maria Hull, 18, from Northern Connections community group, said the duke told her he had “played a didgeridoo before”.

“He actually owns it, he has it at home,” Hull, from Salisbury, said.

“He said he really appreciates Aboriginal culture.”

Zoe Stone, 23, was one of a group of volunteers from cancer support group Canteen to meet the duchess.

“I’m shaking after getting that opportunity to meet her,” Stone told AAP.

“I was nervous, but she was very lovely and she was very supportive of the organisation.”

After the reception, Kate and William greeted 100-year-old Monica Swarbrick outside the civic centre, before leaving for the airport.

“The duke wished me a happy birthday,” said Swarbrick.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, after using the DJ decks at The Northern Sound System in Elizabeth.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, after using the DJ decks at The Northern Sound System in Elizabeth.

In preparation for the royal visit, the youth at Northern Sound System have been rehearsing and polishing their acts. They’ve also had some training in royal protocol, such as how to greet and address their royal highnesses.

And while it seems that NSS’s talent is generally excited to have the Duke and Duchess see the centre they seem more excited at the prospect of getting to perform and gain recognition for what they do.

NSS Youth Development Officer Georgina Pearce said that the visit had “already built community pride”.

Stephanie Michel is a 17-year-old MC in the Hip-hop school at NSS created for disengaged high school students and which teaches song writing and recording tech skills.

Stephanie said she was excited about the opportunity to rap for the royal couple.

“This is a very stand out place where we are making it shine a little bit,” she said.

Laurissa Boyle, 12, and Corey Clarke, 19, students of Education Through Inspiration (ETI), an independent music tuition company working with NSS providing performance experience for students, said “it would be really cool” to perform for the Duke and Duchess.

“There’s a whole range of experiences in there,” Pearce said.

“Lots of them are really super excited and others are a bit like ‘I know my nanna’s fan but I’m not really that into them’.”

NSS programs are focused on youth culture including music, dance and skating.

One example is the Elizabeth Riders Committee, made up of skaters aged 14-18 who use the Launch Pad skate park in front of NSS.

The committee has won awards for community involvement projects and develops youth leadership opportunities such as running workshops for BMX and scooter riders and skateboarders.

During the royal visit the Elizabeth Riders ran a demo in the skate park.

The City of Playford has also been preparing Elizabeth for the thousands of visitors and world media who attended today, fixing run down bus stops and enhancing the landscaping along main roads.

“Everybody’s always looked down on it (Elizabeth) but we have this opportunity to make it look better,” Stephanie said.

“It’s not just for the royals; it’s for everybody around here.”

City of Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty said the enhancements were planned anyway but that the royal visit moved the changes forward.

“It’s good for our community,” Docherty said about the royal visit.

“This is changing perceptions of the northern community, not just across South Australia, but right across the world.”

The State Government has put on extra buses to Elizabeth today, and some keen royal watchers camped out overnight to stake their territory.

additional reporting by Kassandra Dahlenburg

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