NSW bushfires heartbreaking: Princess Mary

Princess Mary has offered her "utmost respect" to the firefighters battling fires across NSW, as she visits Sydney for the Opera House's 40th birthday.

She came to Sydney to celebrate an architectural icon but Crown Princess Mary's first public act in Australia was to send a message of support to bushfire victims.

It was a dramatic start for Mary, who arrived in Sydney to a state reeling from its worst bushfire crisis in decades.

The Australian-born royal and her husband Crown Prince Frederik are in Sydney to help mark the Opera House's 40th birthday.

She used her first public appearance of the trip to extend her sympathies to those affected by the bushfires.

"We've been watching the situation closely from Denmark over past eight days," she told reporters and a group of about 100 people who had gathered to see her on the front steps of the Opera House on Thursday.

"Our deepest sympathies go to those affected and our outmost respect to the work that's been done by professionals and volunteers alike in trying to control these fires that are really scary."

The princess, who was wearing a blue floral frock and Christian Louboutin shoes, said bushfires were a part of Australian life.

She described the work of firefighters working to control blazes in the state as "amazing".

"It's always heartbreaking seeing people losing possessions and homes," she said.

A group of about 15 Year 5 students from SCEGGS Redlands cheered the royal couple as they walked passed and greeted the crowd.

One of the students, Sky, was thrilled.

"I've always been dreaming about meeting a princess and now I just did!" she said.

"I'm really, really happy right now."

After posing for Danish and local media, the royal couple headed into the Opera House for a private tour.

They later met NSW Governor Marie Bashir.

Other official functions for the couple, who have four young children, include visiting a Sydney school and the Australian Twin Registry at Sydney Children's Hospital.

A gala concert and official reception will be held in their honour at the Opera House on Sunday night.

The royal couple, who first met in a Sydney pub during the 2000 Olympic Games, last visited Australia in 2011.

Source: AAP

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