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Princess Mary casts her spell in Broadmeadows

BROADMEADOWS was abuzz with excitement on Saturday morning as Denmark's Crown Princess Mary arrived at the Hume Global Learning Centre.
Crowds braved the pouring rain to catch a glimpse of "our Mary". She was accompanied by her husband Prince Frederik, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Ted Baillieu. The area around the Hume Council offices in Broadmeadows was closed to the public and security was tight. Princess Mary waved to hundreds of excited royal watchers when she arrived at the centre.
She was greeted by a group of pupils from Mount Ridley College in Craigieburn, who held aloft signs in various languages welcoming the royal couple.
Among them was 10-year-old Caleb, who later said: "It was exciting. At the start I was a bit nervous but then I got used to it. She was very nice and she looked really pretty."
Princess Mary was in Broadmeadows in her role as the international patron of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation and to attend its eSmart luncheon.
The event was to spread the message of eSmart, the foundation's anti-cyberbullying initiative that helps schools to manage cyber safety.
The royal couple walked down a purple carpet, the foundation's signature colour, in the foyer of the learning centre, then spent about 10 minutes greeting the children. Wearing an elegant white dress, Princess Mary
was handed bouquets of purple flowers and teddy bears with the foundation logo on them.
The royal couple were then met my business leaders, philanthropists and local identities, including Calwell MP Maria Vamvakinou, Broadmeadows MP Frank McGuire, Hume mayor Helen Patsikatheodorou and councillors.
The luncheon was hosted by Channel Nine's Lisa Wilkinson, and Princess Mary kept the crowd captivated.
She reflected on her previous visit in 2008 with members of the foundation when the eSmart program was in the development stages. It has now been introduced into 540 Victorian schools and the aim is to have it in every school in Australia by 2020. The state government has committed $10.5 million this year towards a statewide rollout of the program. "This program has been an inspiration to me. Bullying is a universal challenge," Princess Mary said. "Today we are able to share our expertise, developments and ideas to benefit both our countries with respect to this program.
"This framework known as eSmart is helping thousands of children around Australia to be safe and responsible online."
Despite the rain, residents didn't budge from their positions outside the learning centre until the formalities were over and the couple had been whisked away to the private luncheon.

Article courtesy of Hume Weekly
BY STEPHANIE ZEVENBERGEN AND CHARLOTTE AZZOPARDI