British Royal Family

Prince Charles and the Barefoot Duchess: the Royals hit Broadbeach

Mobbed by the world's athletes, then cheered on the beach. The royal couple struck gold on the Gold Coast, says The Weekly's Royal Correspondent Juliet Rieden.

By The Australian Women's Weekly

There are 6,600 athletes and officials in the Gold Coast's Athletes' Village and today some of them met the future King of England (and probably Australia) and his Duchess, and they were bowled over. Flanked by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy, the walk through the village was deliberately informal and as happens when this couple meet the public, they welcomed the chance to stop and chat quickly getting well behind schedule.

Of course in this day and age it's all about photos. Malcolm Turnbull is a dab hand at the art of the selfie, the royals not so much. As a matter of courtesy it is asked for eager selfie-seekers to curb their enthusiasm in front of the royal family. No-one wants to face a see of people looking the other way and while some still managed to sneakily snap a selfie, most eager onlookers took face-on photos instead. Indeed the royal couple found themselves snapped from every side as the they walked through the village.

Move over, Prince William, Duchess Catherine, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - is this the new Fab Four?
Move over, Prince William, Duchess Catherine, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - is this the new Fab Four?
Charles and Camilla having a chuckle with the PM over a quintessentially Australia fruit platter.
Charles and Camilla having a chuckle with the PM over a quintessentially Australia fruit platter.

After posing with the Games' Mascot Borobi - the Duchess offering "should I give him a pat" - the couple headed for the dining room which serves over 20,000 meals per day, operating 24/7 with 300 options from nations around the Commonwealth.

The Prince of Wales met dozens of the village staff labelling them "hard-working volunteers".

The Duchess looked elegant in a pink silk crepe beaded tunic dress over white palazzo pants with a a white scarf, which soon was studded with koala bear pins she was given.

Australian athlete Marty Jackson was locked in conversation with the Prince and said "it was awesome". Prince Charles also spoke at length to Australian paratriathlon Bill Chaffey. "He asked all about my sport and about my accident," Bill tells The Weekly. "I was doing my triathlon in 2005 and then was hit by a car and broke my back. It was touch and go for a while and I was in a coma. I was more worried for my family than for myself."

Bill competed as a paralympian in the Olympics in Rio and this is his first Commonwealth Games.

The couple then met members of England's hockey team in their competition uniforms and stopped to sample a platter of fruit outside the village dining hall with the Turnbulls as well as Commonwealth Games boss Peter Beattie and Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin.

Camilla was all smiles as she took part in impromptu game of table tennis alongside Ms Turnbull in the village games room. The pair teamed up for a quick game against Australian boxers Caitlin Parker and Anja Stridsman. The Duchess also tried her hand at pool while Charles played table tennis with an athlete from Tuvalu.

The tour ended with a visit to the village's prosthetic workshop, where para-athletes have items such as wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs repaired. Australian chef de mission Steve Moneghetti took the royals through the different prostheses.

"Is this where you come for a new knee or hip?," the Prince asked Moneghetti on his arrival in a timely comment following his father Prince Philip's hip operation.

He may be turning 70 this year, but Prince Charles is showing no sign of slowing down.
He may be turning 70 this year, but Prince Charles is showing no sign of slowing down.
Look out, Lleyton... Camilla appears to have Lucy in awe of her smashing forehand.
Look out, Lleyton... Camilla appears to have Lucy in awe of her smashing forehand.
... And the same goes for pool.
... And the same goes for pool.

Sand, glorious sand

Next stop was Broadbeach where following some heavy showers the sun came out and the royal couple had a wonderful time walking on the sand, the Duchess kicking off her shoes to feel the sand between her toes and clearly loving it.

The sight of our waves crashing onto the sand no doubt conjured memories for Prince Charles from his teenage and twentysomething dips in the Australian ocean.

Today however there were no bikini-clad models stealing a kiss, but the Prince and Duchess were completely mobbed by huge crowds who followed them right to the water's edge as the couple watched a couple of youngsters surfing.

Leanne Mascall and her mum Ineke were in prime position to meet the couple and with very cute cross Maltese Shih Tzu RJ in their arms they weren't disappointed. The dog-loving Duchess couldn't help but stop to stroke RJ and chat to his owners.

The royal couple were presented with the Final Marker in a new Commonwealth Walkway on the beachfront. The visit was almost cancelled when torrential rain dumped down an hour before their Royal Highnesses were due to unveil a plaque on the Commonwealth Walkway, in front of Kurrawa Surf Club but sun prevailed. The Commonwealth Walkway, which stretches 10km from Southport Chamber to the city's new Home of the Arts precinct and council chambers at Evandale, is the first Commonwealth Walkway to open in Australia.

More than 100 walkways are planned across Commonwealth countries with only six completed — in Malta, Canada, New Zealand, Ascension, Scotland and now Australia.
The walks are based on the Queen's Walkway in Windsor, opened in 2016, to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's reign.

Their Royal Highnesses then met members of Sport2Clean, a non-profit organisation, that uses sport and sports events to promote the conservation and sustainable use of oceans. Jacob, 14, and Marcus, 12, McCarthy said they hoped the Prince would support an expansion of their Sport2Clean environmental organisation to England. Next a display by local surf lifesavers and nippers before a meet and greet with members and supporters from the Wales Games team.

Surf lifesavers gave a demonstration of CPR. Lifesaver Courtney Taylor, 22, gave the long, fevered demonstration after which the Prince announced "you must be exhausted".
Ken Clark, Academy Manager of Surf Life's Saving Queensland was thrilled he got to shake the hand of our future King today and said - with the photos going all around the globe - it was good for surf lifesaving and for Queensland.

Follow Juliet's LIVE coverage of Prince Charles and Camilla's royal Commonwealth Games tour, follow her on Twitter @JulietRieden.

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