Rooby Blue melts royal hearts on jubilee tour Down Under

0
Have your say

An orphaned kangaroo joey stole the Duchess of Cornwall’s heart yesterday as the Prince of Wales and his wife were welcomed to the Australian Outback.

Camilla cuddled 12-month-old Rooby Blue during a visit to the remote rural settlement of Longreach and joked: “There’s a first time for everything.”

Charles also embraced the life of the bushwhacker, donning an iconic akubra hat – synonymous with rural workers – when the royal couple visited the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, a heritage centre chronicling the pioneering cattle men who developed the Outback.

With temperatures reaching a blistering 40 degrees, the Prince and his wife may have been tempted to take up an offer of an ice cold beer from Queensland Premier Campbell Newman who had welcomed the royal couple at the airport.

But the Duchess sheltered under a parasol and said the burning sun had produced “a nice dry heat” in comparison with Papua New Guinea, where the royals had begun their Diamond Jubilee tour at the weekend.

It is her first visit to Australia and in true Aussie style the locals held a barbecue for the royal couple.

When Camilla was introduced to the joey, being cared for by farmers Nic and Carley Walker, she said “Oh hello,” then “Very friendly. Doesn’t it look pretty?”

Rooby Blue, wrapped in a cloth bag to mimic her mother’s pouch, was stroked under the chin by the Duchess who then happily held the animal.

Mrs Walker, 33, who lives with her husband and two daughters on a sheep and cattle station near Longreach, said: “She was orphaned – her mother was killed on the road. A chap that was travelling from Melbourne picked her up and pulled her from her mother’s pouch.

“We’ve had her since August and will have her a few months more, when she will be fully released.”

Mrs Walker said the royal visit went better than expected: “Rooby is a redhead, so she is by nature temperamental. I wasn’t sure if she would pop out of the pouch or kick out, but it went very well.”