The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made a poignant visit to Winmalee, one of the worst affected towns in last year’s Blue Mountains bushfires.
The couple went over schedule to spend 30 minutes in one of the streets devastated by the October fires that destroyed 210 properties and damaged 120 in the Blue Mountains.
After a walk through of the street, the royal couple headed for the Winmalee Guide Hall in the small town of Yellow Rock, for a light lunch and to meet some of the firefighters who fought the weeks-long fire.
Locals were grateful Prince William and Kate had made time on their schedule to visit.
Adrian Harrison, whose house burnt to the ground, said the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the region on Thursday was extra special.
“Here we are five months down the track after we lost our house and for them to come out now, it makes us feel like we haven’t been forgotten,” he told AAP on Thursday before the private street visit.
Afterwards, the duke and duchess were greeted by dozens of fans on their arrival at Winmalee Girl Guides Hall.
Some locals waved Aussie flags, others held bunches of flowers and a few people even had umbrellas out to protect then from the beating sun as the royals pulled up in their royal motorcade.
Stepping out into the sunshine, Kate was elegant in a navy and white Diane von Furstenberg wrap and wedge heels while William looked smart in a navy blue jacket, white shirt without a tie and sky blue chinos.
The royal couple spoke briefly to dignitaries before proceeding inside the hall.
Erin, 29, from Yellow Rock, said it was an “amazing experience” to see the royals, even if it was from behind a fence.
“We never get royalty to come to Yellow Rock – seven months ago no one knew where Yellow Rock was or where we were,” she told AAP.
“Kate and William are the VIPs of the world basically, they’re our future.”
The royal couple are having lunch at the Girl Guides Hall followed by a tree planting ceremony out the front of the hall.
Kyla from Springwood described William and Kate as a “young couple that are holding things together” for the community.
She said the local girls who will plant trees with the duchess “understand how special it is”.
From Winmalee, William and Kate will travel to Katoomba to visit the Three Sisters then meet local volunteers and Aboriginal elders, before returning to their admiralty house.
The royals will then move to Echo Point and the Three Sisters before heading to meet youth groups at Narrow Neck Lookout.
Residents were already lining the streets in Winmalee from 8am (AEST) on Thursday morning hoping to catch a glimpse of the couple.