Phone cameras at the ready: The marble foyer at Parliament House was full of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Canberrans of all generations lined the streets of Canberra to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they toured the capital.
While the cameras focused on Parliament House and the National Arboretum, it was Government House that attracted the truly diehard royalists.
The especially keen established camp outside the gates of Government House with fold-up chairs and UK flags more than an hour before the royal convoy was expected to depart.
Royal Tour 2014
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge listen to an address by the Governor General Peter Cosgrove during a reception hosted by the Governor General Peter Cosgrove and Her excellency Lady Cosgrove at Government House. Photo: Stefan Postles
For the White family from Jerrabomberra, this particular royal watch was a matter of routine, planning and respect.
“We always make an appearance for royalty and we usually come to this exact spot when they arrive,” Sheila White said.
Kylie White, who travelled to London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, said “it’s very nice to see the royals represent themselves in Australia because we’re still a part of the monarchy”.
The small but determined crowd was hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince George but doubted the young man would accompany his parents on a day of royal duties.
Their suspicions were confirmed when the royal convoy left Government House with no baby seat in the back of the flagged Holden car, much to the disappointment of the McGrath family.
“We brought our daughter here hoping this might be a fateful introduction of sorts,” her mother said. “We’re really just playing matchmaker here.”
By the time the royal couple reached Parliament House, the marble lobby was at maximum capacity with families, young children, overseas tourists, and curious staffers who spilled out of their offices.
Young women arrived at Parliament House carrying flower bouquets for the royals. Some chose native flowers while others opted for roses.
Yet not a single woman spoken to be The Canberra Times said she had brought flowers for William, with the Duchess, who arrived in her emerald green dress, receiving all the floral love.
Young mothers squeezed their prams through the capacity crowd with babies on their shoulders. Mothers could be heard chatting about George and comparing how close their child’s birthday was to the prince’s.
Brianna, aged 7, said she was excited to see “the princess”. She was wearing a bright pink dress but didn’t know who designed it.
A group of Canadian tourists who had no idea the royals would be visiting claimed prize spot on the ropes after arriving earlier in the morning.
“We’ve scored big,” one said. “As Canadians we love the royal family”.
The only refuge was to be found in the adjacent Parliament House bookshop, but the television was still tuned into coverage of the events happening just outside its doors.