Gallery: Duchess Catherine races to the rescue in heels on beachy Sydney tour

Published: April 18, 2014

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge walks on the sand at a lifesaving event on Manly Beach on April 18, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge. Chris Jackson/Getty Images


RUNNING in slow-motion along a golden beach, the Duchess of Cambridge appeared to emulate one of the famous scenes from Baywatch as she visited an Australian life-saving club yesterday.

Wearing 4in-high wedges, despite the sand, the Duchess’s elegant performance clearly impressed the 12,000 people who turned out to see the royal couple at Manly Beach near Sydney, judging by their enthusiastic reaction.

Baywatch, the television series which ran from 1989 until 2001, was known for its often incongruous slow-motion sequences of glamorous life guards running along a beach in California.

And while her private secretary took off her shoes, the Duchess, in a white cotton dress by the Australian designer Zimmermann, clearly felt bare feet were a little too casual.

After the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watched 15-year-olds taking part in the New South Wales Surf Life Saving Nippers’ club, the couple was presented with a souvenir of Prince George’s time in Australia – a personalised surf board – by the mayor of Manly.

The Duchess, who had left Prince George with his nanny for the day, said: “Oh good, we’re looking forward to being able to use it, because we all love the water.”

Earlier, the Duchess got her own back on her husband for his comments about her dress sense when she suggested that he should wear a toupee.

As they toured displays at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Lyn Crejan, a farmer, showed them a tuft of alpaca wool which was a similar shade of brown to the Duke’s thinning hair.

Mrs Crejan said: “The prince was interested in the alpaca and as I showed it to them the princess [sic] said he should put it on his head. She said, ‘You need it more than me’ and pointed to his head and he laughed.”

The Duchess had previously been teased by the Duke for a yellow dress that made her “look like a banana” and a green dress he said was “a bit bright”.

At a sheep-shearing display the couple were taken with a six-year-old merino ram called Fred who greeted them with a bow, going down on one knee with a little help from its owner, Jim Murray.

Then it was time for a change of pace as the couple visited a hospice where they said they struggled not to cry when they met a dying baby similar in age to Prince George.

Six weeks ago Max McIntyre contracted meningitis and was given days to live. He is 10 months old and has been at the Bear Cottage Hospice in Manly for the past month.

The Duke told a member of staff: “I welled up and was really worried I would start crying. Once I started I wouldn’t have stopped. He’s a similar age to George – it was extremely moving.”

Max’s mother, Amy McIntyre, a 28-year-old photographer, said: “Kate and William were fighting back tears when we told them about Max. They could totally see themselves in us, as both our sons were born around the same time.

“Kate stroked Max’s leg and they were both very moved. Meeting them was obviously bitter sweet – we’d give anything not to be here.”

Max’s father Rob McIntyre, a sub-editor, said: “He was born perfectly fine but then on the exact day he was nine months, he had a temperature and vomited. The hospital said it was viral and sent us home – two days later he had a series of massive strokes and was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.”

Mrs McIntyre added: “Initially they said Max just had days to live, then perhaps weeks and now maybe months. It’s just a case of keeping him comfortable and if something happens, we’ll let nature take its course.”

Giving her only speech of the royal tour, the Duchess said she wanted to create a “community of best practice” with East Anglia Children’s Hospices, of which she is patron. She also thanked everyone for welcoming her and George on their “first visit” to Australia and said: “To be here together as a family has been very special and we will always remember it with fond and happy memories.”

The Daily Telegraph

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