Royal visit not dampened by downpour

By Herald Online. Newstalk ZB, APNZ

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, meets the public in Auckland today. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, meets the public in Auckland today. Photo / Steven McNicholl

A downpour of rain did little to dampen the spirit of the crowd of royal enthusiasts gathered on lower Queen St this afternoon.

Thousands lined the road where Prince Charles and his wife Camilla greeted their fans on their 'walkabout' down to Queens Wharf. The crowds struggled to catch a glimpse of the royal pair as they shook hands and exchanged smiles.

Costa Renato, who had come from a meeting in town, said he thought the event was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"It's really amazing to see these guys."

Three students of Sir George Seymour Travel College said they had ducked out of class to see their royal idols.

"We ran like our lives depended on it," said Rhia Shoniwa-Siy.

"Charles said hi and made eye contact."

Another of the girls said she had been researching the royal family's history online "all morning" in preparation for the walk.

Amid the cheers there were a few dissenters, holding placards accusing them "royal bludgers" and yelling "I don't want to pay for your holiday". They attempted to boo the pair but were drowned out by cheering.

Earlier topday, the royal couple visited the AUT Millennium building in Auckland where
Royalist Sylvia Corin saw them for the second time in two days.

Ms Corin, whose table was draped with the Union Jack, said she never missed an opportunity to see a member of the royal family when they were in the country.

"I think they really try to live according to the highest standard. They make mistakes, they make the wrong decisions sometimes, but they always try," Ms Corin said.

A guard of honour, including 350 Rangitoto students, formed at the entrance of the AUT Millennium, where their Royal Highnesses met Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington along with other Olympians, Paralympians and the Silver Ferns netball team.

Today is the couple's second full day in New Zealand on the last leg of their Pacific tour for the Queen's Jubilee.

Swimmers stopped their morning laps to greet the royal visitors at the indoor pools of AUT Millennium.

Rachael Jones of Mairangi Bay was not expecting to meet their Royal Highnesses and the first thing she told the Prince was that he would look good in speedos.

Ms Jones apologised to the Duchess for not being able to curtsey in the water.

"I think they're going to think, 'Gosh these colonials are a little strange'," Ms Jones said.

"I told [Prince Charles] he would look good in a pair of Speedos. He said he would have to hit the treadmill first.

"He laughed. He thought it was quite funny."

Sevens player Linda Itunu gave Prince Charles a sweaty hug in the gym at AUT Millennium.

Her training pals cheered as she wrapped her arms around the future king of England.

"I saw him and he just looked like he needed a hug," she said.

"He said he doesn't mind."

Her teammates captured the royal encounter on their smartphones.

"I'm not going to lie but he's leaning into me," said Itunu as she looked at photos of the hug.

"I told him he better support us in the Rugby Sevens, and not England."

Silver Ferns defender Anna Harrison gave Prince Charles some shooting tips before he made a couple of failed attempts.

Harrison later said it was perhaps a bit unfair because the net he was shooting into was set higher than regulation for training purposes.

"He was cool. The first [attempt] would have gone in [if the net was lower]," Harrison said.

After the AUT visit, the royal couple went on to the the Bruce Mason Theatre Centre in Takapuna to watch a performance of Hairy Maclary.

Prince Charles and his wife joined hundreds of school children from around Auckland to watch the play, which aims to promote children's literacy while showcasing the Kiwi children's classic.

The Duchess of Cornwall has named Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy as one of her favourite books, and has chosen it as one she pledges to share with others this year.

The book's author, Dame Lynley Dodd, was among those meeting their Royal Highnesses, as well as selected children from the audience who will be presented with a poster from the Duchess at the end of the performance.

British ex-pat Samantha Cole said she'd never get to see the royals this close back home.

"My hands are shaking already. I'll probably freeze if they come and talk to me," she said.

About 30 kindergarten students from nearby Lakeview Private Kindergarten enthusiastically waved the Union Jack flags they made for the royal visitors.

"There's a lot of princesses and princes play going on at school so it ties in very nicely to see them in the flesh," said school owner Michelle Ted-Bosche.

Dame Lynley , who was warmly greeted by both royals, said the event was "unreal".

"But it's very exciting."

She said the Prince had told her he had written a book before and asked if she was working on anything at the moment.

"I said I should be but I'm not."

Primary school children later lined the streets of Devonport where the royal couple were to visit the Naval Base for a journey across the harbour.

Some students held signs, including one that said "royalty rules".

SCHOOL KIDS PLAN LUNCH FOR ROYALS

Carrot cake and fennel and beetroot salad with a balsamic glaze will be on the menu for the Duchess of Cornwall at an Auckland school today.

Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will be in New Zealand's largest city today, where they will walk down Lower Queen Street to Queens Wharf about 1.20pm.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said it was a great opportunity for Aucklanders to meet the royal couple, with the chance of a handshake, a smile and maybe a quick comment.

The Duchess of Cornwall will also be visiting East Tamaki Primary School to see how they grow and cook their own food.

It is a programme run by The Garden to Table Trust as a non-profit scheme.

Trust chairperson Catherine Bell says the children have an elaborate menu planned.

"What they're going to make is a carrot cake, that's a favourite of theirs, and then they're going to make a fennel and beetroot salad with a balsamic glaze.

"That sounds very fancy, doesn't it?" Ms Bell says.

The royal couple will visit various attractions in the Wellington region on Wednesday, before heading to Christchurch on Friday.

WHERE THE ROYALS WILL BE TODAY

Morning: Charles and Camilla visit AUT Millennium in Auckland to meet Olympic and Paralympic medallists; attend a performance of Hairy Maclary at the Bruce Mason Theatre; and visit Devonport Naval Base to cross Waitemata Harbour on a coastguard amphibious boat.

1.20pm: Walkabout between lower Queen St and Queens Wharf where they will meet members of the public.

Evening: Diamond Jubilee Trust dinner at SkyCity.

How to spot them: Aucklanders are advised to arrive well ahead of time if they want to get a good view of the Prince and Duchess on their walk down Queen St today.

Auckland Council said the best places to see the couple were at the bus stop areas on the edge of Queen Elizabeth II Square, and along Queens Wharf on the route to The Cloud.

Several roads will be closed between 11am and 2pm, including Tyler St and Galway St between Commerce St and Lower Queen St.

Commuters are advised to use public transport to get downtown.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 19 Apr 2014 09:50:20 Processing Time: 1196ms