Prince Charles makes light of 'Pommie' jibes

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The Prince of Wales has joked how he was called a "pommie b*****d" while studying in Australia - as he sympathised with the country over its recent devastating floods.

Charles laughed off the verbal abuse he received as a teenager and said it was "good for the character" during an event to mark Australia's national day.

The celebration, at the Australian High Commission in central London, also commemorated those killed in the natural disaster and recognised the efforts of the emergency services and the public who helped save lives, homes and businesses.

The prince told the invited audience of leading Australians how in 1966 he spent around six months in their country and developed a "huge affection" for the nation.

Charles spent two terms as an exchange student at Timbertop, a remote outpost of the Geelong Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia.

He then made them laugh when he said: "I've been through my fair share of being called a 'pommie b*****d' - by God it was good for the character.

He added, "If you want to develop character go to Australia."

Australia's flood crisis began with record rains in November that left huge parts of the state of Queensland under water, killing 30 people.

The state capital and the country's third-largest city, Brisbane, was swamped for days. The flood waters are now affecting parts of Victoria state.

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