SPEAKING at an Australia Day reception in London on Tuesday evening, Prince Charles said it was extraordinary that flood victims still had the ability to make jokes despite all the horrors they have endured in recent weeks.
The heir to the British throne made a special appearance at the Australia House function to deliver a brief but touching speech in front of a crowd of about 500 people.
“Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, who have been incredibly badly affected by this appalling natural disaster,” he said.
“And yet have shown such extraordinary ability to survive, endure and somehow made jokes about the horror that everyone is facing.
“I could not get over just reading about the ladies that are busily shooting brown snakes trying to get into their houses, dealing with the crocodiles and the spiders and god knows what and all the things I remember so well … let alone the ants.
Prince Charles spoke about his “huge affection” for Australia, having attended Geelong Grammar’s Timbertop school for six months in 1966.
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Not that he said his royal standing meant that he escaped teasing at the Australian school.
“I have gone through my fair share of being called a Pommy bastard, I can assure you of that,” he said to roars of laughter and an ovation from the gathering.
“But look what it has done for me.
“By god, it was good for the character. If you want to develop character, go to Australia.” He said the thoughts of the royal family were with the flood victims but even questioned the value of his own words.
“We are thinking so much of all those out there in Australia, it seems so inadequate and it seems so hopeless in many ways to do this,” he said.
“But all we can do is show real sympathy and understanding and so on this particular occasion may we wish you every success despite all the challenges ahead.”