- Royal tour in Canberra: as it happened on Thursday
- Royal tour 2014: full coverage
- Prince William praises Canberra twins at tree planting
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have met three of Australia’s surviving Victoria Cross recipients at an intimate reception hosted by the Governor-General.
Prince William and his wife Catherine walked down from their suite at government house in Yarralumla to the drawing room where a hundred guests from the arts, business, charity, conservation and sporting fields stood by to greet them.
Kate wore a white cocktail dress by American designer Lela Rose, with a loose chignon and drop earrings.
The royal couple mingled with the likes of Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop, footballer Harry Kewell, cricketer Ellyse Perry, former pro-surfer Layne Beachley, INXS rocker Kirk Pengilly and sailor Jessica Watson.
They also met three Australian Victoria Cross recipients - Daniel Keighran and Benjamin Roberts-Smith and SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson. They were among four Australians awarded the honour for their actions in Afghanistan. Corporal Cameron Baird was awarded the VC posthumously earlier this year. Australia’s fourth surviving VC recipient, Keith Payne, was not in attendance.
In a speech saluting the royal couple, the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove said it was fortunate Australia would have their company on Anzac Day services in Canberra on Friday.
‘‘I’m so pleased, I am delighted, that you will be here in Canberra to take part,’’ Sir Peter said.
He also paid tribute to the ‘‘eminent’’ young Australians attending the intimate gathering.
‘‘They are looking forward to meeting you,’’ Sir Peter told the duke and duchess.
The formal gala capped off a busy day for the duke and duchess at the national capital.
After playing with children and planting a tree at Canberra’s National Arboretum, the royal couple charmed ministers, dignitaries and corporate leaders at Parliament House in Canberra.
They then weaved their way through the National Portrait Gallery to view some of its prized portraits - where at one point Kate come face to face with a portrait of Australia’s homegrown royalty, Danish Crown Princess Mary.