Reception tinged with sadness for
Duke and
Duchess

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THE DUCHESS of Cambridge dazzled in white as she and her husband prepared to bid a fond farewell to the land Down Under.

The Royal couple were guests of honour at a reception hosted by prime minister Tony Abbott at Parliament House in the capital of Canberra as they came to the end of their official tour of Australia and New Zealand.

In a formal address the Duke of Cambridge paid tribute to their host nation, describing it as a “magnet” for investors, visitors and those wanting a better quality of life.

He added: “The distinct Aussie formula that has fashioned such a dynamic society is the source of admiration and envy around the world.”

Kate’s cocktail dress proved a cool choice – and not just in the style stakes.

Earlier in the day she admitted “sweltering” in the heat in a bright-green coat dress as she toured an arboretum in Canberra, speaking to children about conservation projects.

The trip showed every indication it was a success for Aussie-Anglo relations as Mr Abbott thanked the pair for visiting with their baby son, Prince George.

But the occasion was tinged with sadness after news of the death of the Duchess of Cornwall’s brother reached the Royal couple.

Kensington Palace said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were saddened to learn of the tragic death of Mark Shand.

“Their thoughts are with the Duchess of Cornwall and her family at this time.”

Today Kate and William will stand shoulder to shoulder with Australians when they join events marking Anzac day - a national day of remembrance for the nation’s war dead, veterans and those still serving. It is their final stop before flying back.

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