Diana loved Australia

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IOL RoyalAus REUTERS Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, holds her son Prince George as his father, Britain's Prince William (L), holds a toy wombat that was given as a present to him from Australia's Governor-General Peter Cosgrove (2nd L) at Admiralty House in Sydney April 16, 2014. Prince William and his wife are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George.

Britain's Duke of Cambridge spoke of his late mother Princess Diana's love for Australia as he arrived in the country this afternoon.

Prince William, his wife Duchess Catherine and their 8-month-old son Prince George arrived in Sydney, Australia this afternoon and travelled to the Sydney Opera House where William spoke of his mother's love for the country and praised the nation.

Addressing the guests at a reception held for the couple's arrival, he said: "This visit to Australia has been one that Catherine and I have been looking forward to for a long time.

"Australia and Australians have always been for us a beacon of confidence, creativity in the arts and sporting ability.

"My mother's deep affection for Australia - which you were so kind to reciprocate - needs no reminder."

The 31-year-old royal - whose mother died in a car crash in 1997 - also joked that his son may utter his first word while visiting the country, saying that he and Catherine thought it might be "bilby" or "koala", which are both animals native to Australia.

He added: "We really look forward to our time here together as a family."

Following the reception, the Duke and Duchess were taken on a boat ride across the Sydney Harbour to Admiralty House, the official residence of the Governor General of Australia, according to HELLO! Magazine.

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