Go behind the scenes of The Royal Tour with our photographer blogs from New Zealand and Australia. Photographer Brendon Thorne talks us through Day 12 at Bear Cottage Hospice in Manly.

It is hard not to acknowledge the star power of their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Catherine and Baby George of Cambridge as the most powerful trio on the planet right now, if not of all time; (sorry Placido, Jose, Luciano.)

Whilst I have no doubt the Three Tenors generated their own sizeable number of adoring fans at the Ernst Happel Stadion in 1996, it would be hard to image them rivalling our own numbers of enthusiastic screams, cheers, wolf-whistling adults, some with children donning tiaras and princess dresses, some holding signs of affection, some with flowers, flags, gifts, teddy bears, balloons. Little kids with tears in their eyes, big kids with tears in their eyes. All of whom turn out, regardless of location, rain, hail or shine, to stand hour on end in the hope of gaining a glimpse of the Royal Trio. It was no different at Sydney’s iconic Manly beach today where I had the opportunity not only to capture the Royals on day three of their Australian tour, but also to witness first hand our nation’s affection for this tour de force from the United Kingdom.

The beauty about being an editorial photographer with Getty Images is that every day is different. However on the odd occasion, like today, when photographing dignitaries, there are a few sure things you can count on. 1) A ridiculously oversized media ID with absolutely no resemblance to its owner. 2) A longer than usual media briefing, followed by an even longer wait for arrival. 3) A highly sensitive nose, belonging to Ralf the police hound, sniffing and drooling all over your 70-200mm lens.

Having just removed the drool from my lens with a cloth I had fashioned from my sock, the Royal entourage arrive and as one of two POOL photographers we are moved inside Bear Cottage, a hospice for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. The Royal Couple, accompanied by Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret greet nurses and staff of Bear Cottage. These tireless workers, who deserve endless amounts of respect, are responsible for making the children and families of Bear Cottage as comfortable as possible.

Inside, the facilities are decked out, floor to ceiling, with art and craft from its current and former guests. The Royal Couple part ways to visit separate parts of Bear Cottage, as I and the rest of the press follow the Duchess around the grounds. As a Royal Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices in the UK, the Duchess gets stuck in with wonderful ease, greeting families, singing songs, playing games and sharing jokes with the children. From my position, it was an incredibly humbling experience to capture the Duchess regaling the children and families of Bear Cottage with all the grace, style and ultimately genuine passion that one has come to expect from the Duchess.

As the Royal couple head for Manly beach itself, their final engagement on Good Friday, endearing themselves to the masses, I make a mad dash, just a few hundred metres away for a café where I too form my own personal tour de force, my own powerful triumvirate of a smoked salmon and avocado bap, soy latte and blueberry muffin as I file my images to the desk and out to, hopefully, the nation’s affections.

Editor's Note: For more picture of the Royal Tour, click here. 


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