Morgan Tait

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

To catch your prince first wave a big flag

Sam Rollins knows how to attract royal attention to himself.

Staunch royalist Sam Rollins who has met Prince Charles twice, hopes to also meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George next week. Photo / Greg Bowker
Staunch royalist Sam Rollins who has met Prince Charles twice, hopes to also meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George next week. Photo / Greg Bowker

Meeting the royal family can be as easy as wearing something eye-catching. Just ask Auckland man Sam Rollins who has twice met Prince Charles and also greeted his son Prince William with handshakes during their visits to New Zealand.

Next week, Mr Rollins is hoping for another royal encounter and plans to wave an English flag emblazoned with "King William III" to catch the eye of the Duke and Duchess and young son.

Mr Rollins, 74, said it was a hat, shirt and "pure luck" that scored his trifecta of royal handshakes throughout the past two decades.


Prince Charles. Photo / Mark Mitchell

His first royal run-in was during the Prince of Wales' 1994 tour.

"It was just after he split with Diana and he was over at the boats [at the Auckland Viaduct] and he came over to where I was standing and pointed at the hat I was wearing and said, 'oh my goodness where did you get that one from?' I said, 'I got it in Singapore'."

In 2010, another bright clothing item caught the eye of Charles' son, Prince William, who greeted him as he stood among crowds outside the Maritime Museum on Auckland's waterfront.

"I was wearing a beautiful Hawaiian shirt and he came over and he said, 'That's a beautiful shirt you're wearing'.

"It really was very exciting to see that he was quite a pleasant young man, he seemed to more or less fit in with the crowd and it made me feel more respect for him."

The second time Mr Rollins met Prince Charles was in 2012, as he stood among crowds in Auckland when Prince Charles' motorcade stopped in front of him.

"The car that he was in just stopped right beside me and he stepped out of the car and shook hands with me."

He hopes his large flag - of King William III who reigned as the Prince of Orange in 1690 - will draw the young family to him when they visit Auckland.

"There will be a crowd go out because they have quite a lot of interest in these young ones. I'd like to see William become King ... it would be a big boost for the Commonwealth."

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- NZ Herald

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