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The people's Prince: William reaches out to flood victims in Australia

21 MARCH 2011

Sometimes it's the smallest gestures that mean so much.

The scene could hardly have been more touching as Prince William comforted a woman whose home and farm were destroyed in the floods in Grantham, Australia.

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Derelle Linneth, who has Down's Syndrome, threw her arms round the second-in-line to the throne during his trip to the flood-ravaged town.

"I love you, William," she told the Prince, who didn't bat an eyelid at the breach of royal protocol.

"In that case you get another cuddle," said the 28-year-old, hugging her back.

Derelle, 41, endured a terrible ordeal when flash floods engulfed the farmhouse she shares with her sister Marilyn. She was stranded alone until Marilyn could battle through the torrent of water to get her to safety.

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William's visit clearly uplifted both of the sisters.

"I'm 61 and I run a farm on my own," said Marilyn. "I felt like, 'Should I keep going or just stop?' After today, I think I will keep going."

And they weren't the only ones - William brought smiles wherever he went as he wrapped up his tour of natural disaster zones of New Zealand and Australia.

It's clear the young royal has inherited his mother's caring manner and innate ability to connect with people.

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