Arthur Edwards, the UK Sun‘s Royal photographer, said the Prince’s visit was the perfect opportunity for Australia to get to know the man who is second in line to the throne.
“I think what’s special about it was, certainly as far as New Zealand was concerned, is he was representing the Queen, and he wanted to come here, he hasn’t been here since he was nine months old,” Mr Edwards said.
“I think that’s what the Royal family needs, they need a young prince to come forward and start taking on some of the Queen’s work.”
Prince William has been on a three-day whirlwind tour of Australia, starting off with a trip to a homeless shelter with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, before heading to Sydney’s Holdsworthy Base to show off his skills at the firing range and meet some Australian soldiers who have served overseas.
Mr Edwards, who accompanied the Prince on his last visit to Australia 26 years ago, says the reception he has received from Australian crowds should quell any talk of Australia becoming a republic after the Queen dies.
“I think it’s gone down a storm. It was brilliant in New Zealand and it’s even better here with the crowds – I mean thousands turned out at Redfern yesterday,” he said.
“He’s here to try and make the royal family more popular, to be honest with you. There’s a lot of talk that maybe Australia when the Queen dies it’ll become a republic. Well, don’t bet your life on it because you’ve got this lad coming along.”
But Mr Edwards says it is important for William to continue to increase his role if the royalty is to remain relevant.
“The Royals are quite old now; the Queen’s nearly 84, and to keep coming and doing these gruelling visits is a bit much,” he said.
“It’s a lot to ask for your monarch, your head of state, to work in their middle 80s, and so we need William and we need his brother Harry to do much more of this work.
“[To] fly the flag, come to see Australia and their Australian friends – and it’s Prince William of Australia.”
The Prince is spending the afternoon at a barbecue in the Sydney Botanic Gardens before heading to Melbourne tomorrow to tour areas affected by the Black Saturday bushfires.
The Federal Government has ruled out holding a referendum on Australia becoming a republic at this year’s election, but says it will consider one if it wins the following election.