Prince Andrew wins over new Wollongong fans during city visit

ROYAL VISIT: Prince Andrew, The Duke of York enjoys a laugh during a civic reception held at Wollongong Art Gallery on Tuesday. Picture: Robert Peet
ROYAL VISIT: Prince Andrew, The Duke of York enjoys a laugh during a civic reception held at Wollongong Art Gallery on Tuesday. Picture: Robert Peet

The smiling faces of modern-day royals such as Prince William and Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge are often plastered on magazine covers worldwide.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York may not be as well known as his popular nephews in some circles, but His Royal Highness won over a legion of new fans in Wollongong on Tuesday.

Among them was 16-year-old St Mary’s Star of the Sea College student Shari Heffernan.

‘’He is the first member of the Royal Family that I've met, but he is my favourite now,’’ Shari said, after Prince Andrew presented her with the inaugural The Duke of York - Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (IDEA) Bronze Winner certificate. 

The Duke of York also made a good impression on his Wollongong hosts and showed he enjoyed a laugh, even at his own expense.

At one stage he even had those people at a civic reception held in his honour at Wollongong Art Gallery, roaring with laughter.

Even the butt of his joke, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery had a chuckle.

When welcoming Prince Andrew to Wollongong, the usually polished performer Cr Bradbery stumbled over his words and uttered ‘’thanks to my speech writer, my speech is all over the place’’.

Enter the Duke of York, who piped up with ‘’does your speech writer leave you a blank sheet of paper and say you’re on your own?’’

Andy, welcome to the City of Wollongong. Have a great time mate and give our regards to your mum.

Gordon Bradbery

After the crowd burst into laughter, Prince Andrew returned and said ‘’it happens to me all the time’’.

This comment again elicited laughter, as did the Lord Mayor’s closing remarks.

‘’You have to excuse me when I say, no disrespect intended but Andy, welcome to the city of Wollongong, have a great time mate and give our regards to your mum,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

HAPPY: Prince Andrew had a great time launching the University of Wollongong's Global Leaders Education and Development program. Picture: Adam McLean

HAPPY: Prince Andrew had a great time launching the University of Wollongong's Global Leaders Education and Development program. Picture: Adam McLean

Smiles and laughs seemed to be a common theme during the Prince’s Wollongong visit.

The Duke’s busy schedule included launching the University of Wollongong’s Global Leaders Education and Development (GoLEaD) Program.

He mingled with guests and young leaders of the future, including 100 of the Illawarra’s top HSC performers.