Lynne Cosgrove (L), wife of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia Peter Cosgrove (unseen), and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (2nd L) sees off Britain's Prince William (R), his wife Catherine (2nd R), the Duchess of Cambridge, and their son Prince George.
Lynne Cosgrove (L), wife of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia Peter Cosgrove (unseen), and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (2nd L) sees off Britain's Prince William (R), his wife Catherine (2nd R), the Duchess of Cambridge, and their son Prince George. SAEED KHAN

Prince George and his royal parents bid Australia farewell

WITH  final fond handshakes, official farewells and a hectic tour behind them, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge waved goodbye to Australia and headed home on Friday afternoon.

While William and Kate donned beaming smiles for the cameras at Canberra's Fairbairn airbase, baby Prince George appeared less than willing to leave.

Whether it was the prospect of another long flight or the absence of his cuddly wombat, the nine-month old cracked a teary tantrum as his parents were farewelled by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margaret.

The couple had spent the morning attending both the dawn and morning services at the National War Memorial where the Duchess placed a posy of native Australian flowers on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

A handwritten note, left with the posy read "In every second of every day, you will be remembered for your courage and your bravery. Thank you for your sacrifice and for what you have done for us. For that, I am truly grateful."

The sombre change in pace capped off a mostly jubilant nine-day tour which saw the couple take in Easter shows, unveil plaques and reach out to youths and volunteers across three states, the red centre and the capital.

For many a royal fan, the main attraction was Prince George, but the fashion world was only interested in one thing - what Kate was wearing.

From the wattle yellow Roksanda Ilincic number her husband reportedly likened to a banana, to the Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress which sold out worldwide moments after she arrived in the bushfire-ravaged Blue Mountains, Kate's style made global headlines throughout the tour.

A two-piece pink suit by her wedding dress designer Alexander McQueen, worn during the royals brief stint in Adelaide, was described by many a commentator as being, well, fit for a (future) queen.

The couple had their own highlights.

Speaking at a reception in their honour at Parliament House on Thursday William told the crowd they had been particularly impressed by the Indigenous artwork they experienced at Uluru and the heritage behind it.

He also spoke fondly about the family's visit to Taronga zoo where the bilby enclosure was named in George's honour and William had the chance to hear about the zoo's efforts in fighting the illegal wildlife trade - a cause he said was "very dear to my heart".

As the tired family headed for Sydney late Friday Clarence House tweeted - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are preparing to leave Australia, thank you for a wonderful #royalvisitaus



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