Australian answers phone call mid-conversation with Royal

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A PHOTO has emerged of the awkward moment an Australian woman snubbed Prince Charles mid-conversation to answer a phone call, during his recent tour of the Northern Territory.

The Prince of Wales travelled to Gove, in northeastern Arnhem Land, to meet with Yolngu clan leaders on the final leg of his jam-packed trip to Australia.

While there he met with several local artists, including painter Mulkun Wirrpanda, in the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre on Monday last week.

NT News photographer Keri Megelus, one of several photographers who covered the royal visit for News Corp Australia, told the Prince approached Ms Wirrpanda to greet her.

But the encounter took an unexpected turn when Charles extended his arm and said “hello” and the artist’s mobile phone started to ring. According to Ms Megelus, the artist — who is also a leader for the Dhudi-Djapu clan from Dhuruputjpi — pulled the phone out of her pocket and appeared to contemplate answering it.

“Prince Charles said something to her like, ‘Well you better answer that, maybe it’s someone important’,” Ms Megelus said.

“So she answered it, said ‘hello’ to whoever was on the other end, and the Prince turned around to the cameras and started laughing while waiting for her.

“Then she hung up and they continued their conversation.”

Ms Megelus, who followed the Prince around in Gove and Darwin over several days said he had “quite a good sense of humour” and didn’t appear bothered by the momentary snub.

But there were strict rules around covering the royal visit.

“The rules were quite simple: don’t talk to him,” Ms Megelus said.

During his visit to the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre, the Prince also met with Yolngu clan leaders and the Member for Nhulunbuy, Yingiya Mark Guyula, who asked him to intervene on their behalf and acknowledge their people’s sovereignty.

He was asked to take a strong position on the issue and was handed a letter stick to deliver to the Prime Minister of Australia.

“We have many difficulties with the Australian governments because they do not recognise our sovereignty,” Mr Guyula said last week.

“We need to correct this situation, for the sake of our children and their children, for our cultural survival — for our ancestors.” The Prince was also given a spiritual blessing by world-renowned didgeridoo master Djalu Gurruwiwi during last Monday’s visit, taking part in a Yidaki healing ceremony where a didgeridoo was blown close to his chest.

Gurruwiwi performed the 30-second blessing, after which the Prince smiled and said: “I feel better already!”

The Prince arrived in Darwin later that night for a reception hosted by the Royal Flying Doctor Service where he was treated to tasty morsels rustled up by MasterChef contestants.

The Prince laid a wreath at the city’s Cenotaph on Tuesday to commemorate fallen Australian servicemen and women, before taking time to greet the wellwishers who had turned out to see him. He also met with the families of fallen soldiers.

The Prince then visited Larrakeyah Defence base, taking a short tour of Darwin Harbour on a regional patrol craft.

He was later shown around Royal Darwin Hospital, before attending the Northern Territory Governor’s reception before flying out of Australia from Darwin’s RAAF base later that night.

Prince Charles’ 16th visit to Australia saw him open the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, while also spending time in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns and Vanuatu. | @Megan_Palin

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