Prince Charles and Camilla arrive in Brisbane for Australian tour

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Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall walk during a Ceremonial Welcome at Old Government House in Brisbane, Australia April 4, 2018. Reuters/Phil Noble

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have made an appearance at Brisbane's Botanic Gardens ahead of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. They were spotted in Brisbane after reportedly visiting friends in New South Wales.

About 1,000 cheering royal fans greeted the royal couple to Brisbane before the prince opens the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The Old Government House was their first stop for their welcome into the country.

Charles and Camilla were expected to witness a 21 gun-salute and the honour guard, then take a more informal stroll through the botanic gardens. A crowd had built up despite earlier showers.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Governor-General Peter Cosgrove greeted Charles and Camilla. The welcoming party was also attended by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel and Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he is looking forward to catching up with Charles. He described the prince as a thoughtful, charming and knowledgeable man. On ABC Radio, he earlier said that they always get on very well."The prince and I, and Lucy (Turnbull) share a lot of common interests, particularly in terms of urbanism, architecture, planning, environment and ecology,” Turnbull said.

The SBS reports that Charles and the Duchess will head to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital after the garden event. They will then proceed to the Gold Coast for the Games, which the prince will open. The pair represents Queen Elizabeth II at the Commonwealth Games.

For his trip to Queensland, Charles, who will soon welcome another grandchild after son Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton gives birth, will also visit Bundaberg and Cairns. He is scheduled to fly to Vanuatu and the Northern Territory. He will reportedly head home next week.

Charles' latest tour is his 16th trip to Australia and his wife’s third. The visit comes at a significant time for the British monarchy, with republican sentiment gaining traction in Australia. 

The visit also comes after his father Prince Philip was admitted to hospital for a hip surgery, which the Buckingham Palace has confirmed. In a statement, the palace said the Duke of Edinburgh entered King Edward VII Hospital in London for a planned surgery. Philip retired from public life last year.