Royal visit: Benefits for NZ touted

By Patrice Dougan, Isaac Davidson, Lincoln Tan

Royal watchers along Oriental Parade wait patiently for a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Catherine and Prince George. Photo / Teuila Fuatai
Royal watchers along Oriental Parade wait patiently for a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Catherine and Prince George. Photo / Teuila Fuatai

Prince William and wife Catherine are expected to get a pop-star reception when they arrive in New Zealand today with their 9-month-old son, Prince George, on his first overseas outing.

Dan Wootton, a Kiwi entertainment reporter in Britain, said the young royals will cause a stir when the red carpet is rolled out for their arrival this morning.

"Absolutely the royals are show biz, they are a show biz couple and they are covered as such," he told TV3's The Nation.

"But I think particularly more around the world. I mean definitely in the UK there is still a certain amount of deference that they are treated with because of the fact the Prince William is a future king, so they probably get a very easy ride in terms of coverage here."

He added: "I think it will be a little like when One Direction was there."

He said the visit would generate significant media interest internationally and have huge benefits for the country.

"'New Zealand is going to get a lot out of this actually because what you can guarantee is wallpaper coverage ... this will be on the front page of virtually every national newspaper [in Britain]," Mr Wootton said.

"It's going to be all over the tabloids, all over every TV news bulletin, already the TV show I work on here today is doing pre-coverage of the visit talking about exactly where they are going and where they are going to be staying in Wellington, what Prince George will be wearing, how many outfits Kate Middleton is taking. This is a big deal because wherever they visited first, publicly with Prince George was always going to get massive blanket coverage."

He said the couple were candid and understood how to answer questions, although there was still an element of bashfulness about them.

"I think they are a genuine couple and I think you will see that, of course they have an absolutely beautiful baby who is at the perfect age for some very, very cute images. So New Zealand will be all around the world."

The royal family's three-week tour Downunder includes stopping off in Blenheim, Auckland, Waikato, Dunedin, Queenstown and Christchurch. They then head to Sydney, Brisbane and Ayers Rock.

William, 31, Catherine, 32, and George will be in New Zealand for 10 days, visiting Auckland on Friday.

They arrive at Wellington Airport's military terminal at 11.45am today to a ceremonial welcome, powhiri and inspect a guard of honour before a 21-gun salute is fired.

Royal aides have been on overdrive to ensure all goes well for Prince George's first overseas tour.

Miguel Head, William's private secretary, told the Daily Express: "Taking a 9-month-old on a royal tour is not a first but it has not happened in this royal family's context for many, many years, so there has been much to think about, as any new parent travelling long distance will recognise."

Prince George is about the same age as his father, Prince William, was in 1983 when he travelled to New Zealand with his parents, Charles and Diana.

Mr Head will be travelling with the royal party, which will include the Duchess' private secretary, Rebecca Deacon, three press officers, a tour secretary, Catherine's personal assistant, her hairdresser Amanda Cook-Tucker - who was also Princess Diana's stylist - and an orderly.

But perhaps the most important member of the royal entourage will be Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, Prince George's Spanish nanny.

The 43-year-old will mind the Prince when his parents are out performing their official duties.

The couple will spend a night away from their son in Queenstown, after a day wine-tasting at the Amisfield Vineyard and jet-boating.

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- APNZ

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