Prince Charles takes part in rainforest smoking ceremony in Australia

The Duke of Cornwall, who has been recognised for his environmental campaigning, learned how the Kuku Yalanji aboriginal people make use of the forest as a resource.

Charles arrived by helicopter before taking part in a traditional smoking ceremony intended to ward off evil spirits.

Aboriginal elder Roy Gibson explained how certain leaves can provide relief from mosquito bites, before showing the prince a handmade hunting boomerang.

Charles later sat down for a discussion on sustainable forestry at the world heritage-listed forest on the northeast coast of Queensland.

He had earlier attended a Sunday church service and met a woman who made headlines when she gave him a kiss 40 years ago.

Leila Sherwood first met the heir to the throne as a 14-year-old in 1979, when she skipped school to see him at Cairns Airport.

“I broke through a barrier and jumped out in front of him,” she said. “I said, ‘Charles, may I kiss you?’.

“He said, ‘yes, alright then’, so I pecked his cheek. I was all over the TV afterwards.”

The 54-year-old showed Charles a newspaper clipping from the time as she greeted him outside St John the Evangelist Church on Sunday.

She said: “He held my hand and said ‘bless you’ – I didn’t want to let go of his hand!”

Charles also visited the base of the Royal Flying Doctors service in Cairns and hailed its “remarkable” work.

He spoke by video link to Lyn French and her grandson Robert, who live in rural Queensland, about 370 miles from Cairns, and rely on the Flying Doctors for medical help.

Charles, who was also shown how to treat a snake bite, said he was “very proud to be patron” of the “remarkable operation”.

He also found time to head on board HMAS Leeuwin to present the Gloucester Cup to Hydrographic Ship Blue Crew – an award for the Royal Australian Navy unit displaying the highest level of overall proficiency for the year.

It comes after the royal was made “high chief” in a ceremony on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu on Saturday.

And during a reception in Brisbane on Friday, the prince told the crowd he believes he might never fit into “budgie smugglers” again as he approaches his 70th birthday.

Earlier in the tour he rubbished rumours that he takes his own personal toilet seat on overseas trips.

He told Australian radio presenters: “Don’t believe all that crap.”


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