Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's deputy chief of staff

William, Kate set to visit NZ - but miss World Cup

Prince William will not travel to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup but may visit with his new wife next year to help ease the Queen's Diamond Jubilee workload.

Plans are reportedly already in place for the couple to visit New Zealand, Australia and the Caribbean.

It was revealed this week that the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be separated in September - when the World Cup starts - for two months as Prince William, a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force, will be posted in the Falklands.

Because he is unable to attend any of the games in New Zealand the country was a "priority destination" for a world tour starting in March.

The Sun reported that the Queen, 85, has asked family members to relieve her from some travel to Commonwealth countries.

It is customary for the Queen to visit Commonwealth countries on the year of her jubilee celebrations.

National events in the UK will begin during the first weekend of June to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.

A palace told the newspaper: "Demand for William and Catherine is expected to go through the roof following the incredible reaction to their wedding. They are keen to settle into married life and only plan the minimum of official engagements. But the Jubilee is different. Next year is a major for the Royal Family and William and Catherine are keen to play their part in it."

Prince William said during a visit to Wellington last year that he would like to return for the rugby tournament but it had not been confirmed he would do so.

The visit would have had to have been declared as "private" as the final falls four weeks from the general election on November 26. The royals cannot visit a Commonwealth country in an official capacity in the the weeks before an election to avoid being seen to support a political party.

The Prince told John Key during his wedding reception on Friday that Kate wanted to visit New Zealand.

Other Commonwealth countries such as Africa and Asia could be added to William and Kate's itinerary.

The couple is already set to visit Canada and America in July.

Prince Harry is likely to visit African countries including Kenya.

- NZ Herald

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