Nature gives Charles birthday crescendo

  • 15/11/2015
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales cuts his bithday cake during a reception with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall to celebrate the Prince's birthday at the Cottesloe Civic Centre, Perth, Saturday (AAP)
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales cuts his bithday cake during a reception with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall to celebrate the Prince's birthday at the Cottesloe Civic Centre, Perth, Saturday (AAP)

By Rebecca Le May

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's last full day in Australia has ended spectacularly, with a lightning storm sweeping over his royal highnesses' beachside birthday barbecue.

Charles and Camilla began his 67th celebrations in the picturesque and historic town of Albany, jetting in just before midday and cramming in three tours in less than four hours.

First stop was Oranje Tractor Winery, where the royal couple strolled through its productive organic gardens, which piqued the interest of the future king, who is known for enthusiasm for all things horticultural.

Charles cut a birthday cake before the regal pair sampled local food and wine including asparagus, avocado and marron, with the prince quipping to the large press pack that this was the hardest part of his job.

Next stop was a visit to the Albany Agriculture Show, where their royal highnesses watched a log chopping demonstration before Camilla slipped off to look at local crafts and horse jumping.

The final stop in the former whaling town was a more reflective affair. The royal couple went to the Convoy Lookout to see the channel through which the first Australian and New Zealand ships departed for the Great War.

Walking through a guard of honour of naval officers, Charles and Camilla then made their way down to the award-winning National Anzac Centre, which allows visitors to follow the journey of one of 32 ANZAC-related identities through the war.

Camilla was visibly moved by the experience, saying how hard it must have been for the parents of soldiers to say goodbye, not knowing if their son would return.

A canon fired as they exited, which caught the crowd unawares and sent some ducking.

The regal couple jetted back to Perth for the BBQ with Premier Colin Barnett, his wife Lyn and 500 other invited guests including children who share the prince's birthday.

The event began on a sombre note, with Charles calling for a minute's silence to honour the victims of the Paris terror attacks.

A spectacular lighting storm off the coast threatened to dampen the event, creating an impressive backdrop but guests stayed dry until the very last moments of the event.

Nature provided perfect timing, and as the crowd hoorayed the prince after singing 'Happy Birthday', thunder exploded above and guests were swiftly drenched.

The prince told the crowd it was a birthday he would remember before leaving on cue as the heavens opened up.

The royal couple will spend the last day of the tour on Sunday at various events in the Perth CBD.

NZN