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Friday 1 August 2014

Kate Middleton suggests perfect solution for Prince William's growing bald patch - a toupee

Tony Jones, Press Association Court Correspondent, in Sydney

Published 18/04/2014|06:59

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Kate Middleton has suggested the perfect solution for her husband's growing bald patch - an alpaca toupee.

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Prince Harry is usually the one ribbing his older brother about hair loss whenever he gets the opportunity.

But Kate could not help teasing William about his disappearing follicles when the royal couple visited the prestigious Sydney Royal Easter Show.

As they toured elaborate displays of produce grouped by Australian regions, one exhibitor, Lyn Crejan, 67, talked about the wealth of fruit and vegetables in a colourful design behind her.

When she showed them a tuft of alpaca wool - which was a similar shade of brown to the Duke's hair - the Duchess, who wore a white Zimmermann dress, joked about her husband using it as a wig.

Ms Crejan, a farmer from the settlement of Glenn Innes in New South Wales, said: "The Prince was interested in the alpaca and as I showed it to them the Princess said he should put it on his head.

"She said, 'you need it more than me', and pointed to his head and he laughed."

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William's hair loss is similar to that of his father the Prince of Wales and uncle the Earl of Wessex, and in recent months even Harry has begun to develop a bald patch.

Billed as an event that "brings the country to the city" the 14-day Sydney Royal Easter Show attracts more than 900,000 visitors every year, and has been a fixture in the calendar of farmers, animal lovers, gardeners and the general public since it was first held in 1823.

Royalty has been associated with the show since Queen Victoria gave permission in 1890 for the event to use the royal prefix.

The Prince of Wales visited in 1981 and 10 years earlier the Duke of Edinburgh toured the stands.

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Featured in the show are prize-winning livestock from beef cattle and merino sheep to goats and horses, while animals you would not expect to see in the farmyard, like lizards and alpacas, are also included.

More than 10,000 items of produce are on display and there are stands for those who want to get up close to the exhibits - like chuck washing, pig patting and cow milking.

As the royal couple entered the Cox Pavillion where a sheep shearing display was under way, a ram with impeccable manners made them smile when he welcomed them with a bow.

William and Kate were left marvelling at the formal greeting from Fred, a six-year-old merino ram.

The well-trained sheep went down on one knee with a little help from his owner, sheep farmer Jim Murray.

The royal couple stroked Fred and fed him some of his favourite treats, pieces of apple.

Mr Murray said: "He's very intelligent, sheep are highly trainable if they're treated right. I only found out they wanted him to do this a fortnight ago.

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"The Duke and Duchess were very impressed with his size and stature and how soft his wool was."

Crowds lined the route through the various halls as the couple moved through, viewing exhibits from producers.

As they went they were given armfuls of presents, from handmade chocolates to preserves and baby clothes for Prince George, and at one point police officers were pushing a large trolley filled with gift bags.

While admiring piles of root vegetables in the South East Queensland display, Catherine told preserve maker Diana Lisle that George is particularly fond of sweet potatoes.

The royal couple unveiled a plaque to open the new Southee and Badgery Pavilion, a 10,000 square metre building, completed last week and home to the show's arts and crafts, fashion and style, and flower and garden displays.

Kate, a keen photographer, paid special attention to the pavilion's photography display, stopping to view the winning photo, a black and white image  of Florence taken by Chris Carter.

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She told Alison Renwick, former chairwoman of the arts and crafts pavilion, that she enjoys taking photos and painting and drawing.

Ms Renwick said: "She was very interested in the crochet and was brought up by her family and grandmother in particular to appreciate crafts.

"Her passion is photography and she likes painting and drawing. I asked her if she still found the time to do it and she said 'not very much'.

When Ms Crejan revealed she used hair lacquer on the pumpkins in her regional produce display to give them extra shine, she caught William's attention.

She said: "The Prince was interested in the shine and when I told him I used lacquer he said he'd try it next Halloween."

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Press Association

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