Prince William and Kate Middleton have lauded Kangaroo Island firefighters and locals as the community recovers from last summer’s devastating bushfires.
Prince William and Kate Middleton have lauded Kangaroo Island firefighters and locals as the community recovers from last summer’s devastating bushfires.

Wills, Kate smitten over ‘sweet’ Aussie

Prince William and Kate Middleton have caught up with a cute Kangaroo Island koala, as the couple were given an update on the island's recovery from Australia's devastating summer bushfires.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke to firefighters and local business people in a video call to the South Australian island.

Details of the chat were released on Friday morning Australian time.

But it was a baby koala named Grace who completely stole royal hearts.

Dana Mitchell, who runs the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, told the royal couple how the park helped save animals hurt in the fires, introducing them to Grace, who is recuperating at the facility.

Prince William and Kate Middleton were all smiles during a call with some Kangaroo Island Aussies. Picture: Supplied
Prince William and Kate Middleton were all smiles during a call with some Kangaroo Island Aussies. Picture: Supplied

"So this is Grace. She came in about a month ago now," Ms Mitchell said.

"She's gaining weight pretty well and loves her bottle and pretty much sleeps all the time."

The Duchess of Cambridge, who wore a yellow Dolce & Gabbana dress, smiled as Ms Mitchell held Grace close to the camera for the royal couple to see, telling the couple the park was vital in saving the lives of hundreds of animals.

"Oh look!" she said, as Grace was brought out of her enclosure. "So sweet."

Prince William also took a closer look at the adorable marsupial, saying, "She looks like she's being very well looked after. Grace looks like she has a very nice life there."

Prince William and Kate also praised firefighters and the local community for their resilience.

"It's fantastic to hear about the community spirit in Australia as always, which is what Catherine and I see when we come down there," Prince William said in the call.

"Aussies are very good at looking out for each other and it's fantastic to see that you're all pulling together."

The January bushfires tore through Kangaroo Island, with two lives lost and significant damage to homes and wildlife.

Captain Mike Swayne, a volunteer for the South Australian Country Fire Service, was among those on the front lines.

Prince William and Kate Middleton spoke to firefighters and business people from Kangaroo Island during a video call. Picture: Supplied
Prince William and Kate Middleton spoke to firefighters and business people from Kangaroo Island during a video call. Picture: Supplied

He spent five weeks fighting the blazes and shared some of his experiences with the royal couple.

Prince William and Kate were also told about the work of a task-force set up by the Australian Defence Force as part of the national response, providing support to local emergency services and affected communities in South Australia.

The Duke and Duchess praised the efforts of all those who had worked to tackle the spread of the fire and protect the island's residents in the most challenging of circumstances.

Work is now focused on helping rebuilt habitats on the island.

Prince William and Kate continue to be the face of the royal family during the pandemic. COVID-19 rules have restricted royal activities, with Zoom calls and video messages now becoming a new standard as the royal family try to continue their work during the pandemic.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as Wills, Kate smitten over 'sweet' Aussie



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