Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Plans abuzz for royal-baby gift

Makers keen to present classic toy bee again on William and Kate's April tour

The Buzzy Bee makers hope Prince George will play with their toy as his father did when a baby in 1983 at Government House in Auckland with parents Charles and Diana. Photo / AP
The Buzzy Bee makers hope Prince George will play with their toy as his father did when a baby in 1983 at Government House in Auckland with parents Charles and Diana. Photo / AP

If the toy's makers have anything to do with it, Prince George will play with a Buzzy Bee on the lawn of Government House just like his father, Prince William, did as a baby in 1983.

Photo / NZ Woman's Weekly
Photo / NZ Woman's Weekly

Photos of Prince Charles, his wife, Diana, and their young son playing with the slice of Kiwiana in Auckland were shown all around the world.

Confirmation yesterday that the next generation of royals are New Zealand-bound has makers of the iconic wooden bee hoping for a repeat performance when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge bring George Downunder in April.

The visit will be part of the young royals' tour of Australia and New Zealand involving official engagements in both countries for the best part of a month.

It will also be Kate's first tour here.

Lion Rock Ventures has owned the Buzzy Bee since 2004 and executive director William McKegg said the company would take every opportunity to gift Prince George a toy.

"We'd love to continue the tradition and we think New Zealanders would like that. It's such an icon and the public are really proud of it, rightly so. It'd be great to continue an association with the royal family.

"Prince William had one and when [he] was here in 2005, the Prime Minister gave him Buzzy Bee cufflinks, so if we gave George a Buzzy Bee, we would continue a lovely tradition that's started - of an association with the Buzzy Bee and royal family," Mr McKegg said.

"I think in one sense it would also be great for Prince William because it would be completing the circle, and then we would have to prepare for George's little children one day when he's had a Buzzy Bee."

The company was considering making a limited-edition toy that would celebrate the tour.

"We have got plans to do something very special for him - we're not quite sure how we're going to get it into his hands and we would love support from a dignitary in New Zealand if they knew what to do."

The visit was also expected to come with a royal price tag for taxpayers. Charles and Camilla's six-day visit in 2012 cost almost $800,000.

The Prime Minister's office said it was too early to pin down a price as no itinerary had been made. However, Prime Minister John Key said he was "delighted" by the news of the visit.

"I am delighted New Zealand will have the opportunity to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who today confirmed they will visit Australia and New Zealand in April next year," Mr Key said in a statement.

"It's also anticipated Prince George will accompany his parents, but a decision hasn't been made on that yet and will be made in due course."

Chloe Oldfield, vice-chairwoman of Monarchy NZ, said excitement was already building around the visit.

"I think we'll find we'll have a real buzz and excitement that always seems to precede royal tours in New Zealand ... William, Catherine and George have all been quite a big part of New Zealand so I'm sure everyone will be pretty excited for Catherine and George's first time here."

A NZ Republican Movement spokesman said the organisation welcomed the tour as an opportunity for public debate on the future of the monarchy.

- NZ Herald

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