Prince William, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

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It was a very early day for Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The royals were up and at it by dawn on Friday to honor war veterans during their royal tour Down Under. Wills and Kate quietly arrived around 5 a.m. to make a surprise appearance at a ceremony commemorating ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day, a special day of remembrance.

"Very early on the Palace advised us that it was likely that the Duke would attend the Dawn Service and we were advised a few days ago that the couple would both attend," the memorial's Director Dr. Brendan Nelson told reporters.

"I thanked them both very much for attending and I said to them this means a lot to us, it means a lot to our country and it means a lot to our veterans. Suffice to say they were very, very committed to be here and found the service very meaningful."

Thousands of veterans and their families, along with the general public, gathered in the darkness of the early morning to pay tribute. While some were with candles, William and Kate and the others in the official party had small torches to read the order of service.

After two wreaths were laid at the Stone of Remembrance, the Australian army chaplain Peter Willis led the prayers, speaking of the extreme gratitude for those "who laid their lives down for our sakes," and added that they remember "with compassion those who still suffer" because of war.

The ceremony marked the beginning of their last day in Australia. They later stopped by the National Arboretum and the Parliament House, where William delivered a lengthy speech complimenting Australia for all of its success.

"Reluctantly, Catherine, George and I leave Australia tomorrow," Wills said at the end of his speech. "Thank you for the warmth and generosity that has been shown to us during our visit. We go away with wonderful memories, and George goes away with his cuddly wombat, which he has taken to chewing so lovingly. We greatly look forward to coming back. And when we do return, it will be to marvel again at all that Australia is, and will yet become."

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