Prince Charles hits Bondi beach under a brolly

Britain's Prince Charles needed an umbrella on Friday on Australia's famous Bondi beach as a tropical storm hit during the royal visit.

The downpour scattered the waiting crowd as the official cavalcade drew up at the Bondi Surf Club.

When the rain eased, Charles walked onto the beach in a blue wool suit and tie to greet onlookers.

Amid shouts of "Charlie, Charlie", the prince took to the sand to watch Aboriginal youths taking part in a National Rugby League programme.

Charles and wife Camilla are touring Australia, after a visit to Papua New Guinea, to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee.

They were greeted by searing heat in the outback town of Longreach on Monday and met with rain on Tuesday for the Melbourne Cup horse race.

The couple rode a barge on Sydney Harbour Friday morning ahead of tea with Australian military personnel on a harbour island.

Charles then moved on to the Museum of Contemporary Art where he met top Australian designers to support the Campaign for Wool.

As he took a look at their designs, model Bec Bisset caught his eye and he even took a detour to speak with her.

"He said, 'I didn't realise you were real' -- he thought I was a mannequin," said Bisset.

The prince and Camilla have been warmly received in Australia, cradling koalas and kangaroos, supping beer in Tasmania and wine in the Hunter Valley.

While Charles soaked up the Bondi buzz, the Duchess of Cornwall was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police and attended a reception held to promote mentoring young women.

They depart Sydney for the capital Canberra on Saturday before heading to New Zealand.


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