Prince William and Kate Middleton have arrived for one of the highlights in their Australia tour: a visit to the iconic site of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock.
The Duchess of Cambridge chose a sleeveless shift dress by Roksanda Ilinic, the same designer who created the yellow dress she wore to arrive in Sydney. Her husband complemented her in a short-sleeved shirt and a pair of chinos.
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Their visit has evoked memories of the journey made there by William’s parents Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1983. Then a baby, William accompanied them on the tour, although not to Uluru.
Similarly, the Cambridge’s own son, Prince George, did not join them on the three-hour trip from Canberra; he stayed in the capital with his nanny. William and Kate will spend Tuesday night under the stars, glamping at Longtitude 131, the luxury accommodation facing the north face of Uluru. There they will be able to experience the outback at night and have an opportunity to see the sun rise over Uluru.
Shortly after their arrival, the royal couple were taken to the National Indiginous Training Academy, which provides training for the hospitality and tourism industries.
Kate was greeted as she stepped off the plane
They handed out certificates to delighted graduating students before receiving gifts of their own to commemorate the visit, including a traditional spear and jewellery. “George will probably chew on it, so I’ll keep it away from him,” Kate joked, as she was presented with a handmade bracelet.
The Duke and Duchess were then taken to Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre to learn about Uluru and neighbouring Kata Tjutu, both of which are sacred sites to the indigenous people.
The couple were given a traditional spear to commemorate their visit
After a Welcome To Country ceremony, they inspected an art display and meet with local artists, before heading upstairs for afternoon tea with the Chief Minister and student representatives from local schools.
After refreshments, and a quick chance for the Duchess into a recycled Hobbs dress, the couple were treated to a traditional aboriginal dance called an Inma, at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Later in the afternoon, tour guide Sammy Wilson will escort then on a short sunset stroll at the base of Uluru. The couple will learn the story of the battle between Kuniya (the snake woman) and Liru (the poisonous snake man) — important creation figures for Uluru’s traditional ancestors.
Uluru also known as Ayers Rock
Uluru, which has no direct translation into English, was named Ayers Rock in 1873 by William Gosse, who named it after the then Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers.
Aside from Charles and Diana, there have previously only been two other royal visits to the site — by Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia in 2005, and by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands in 2006.