Morgan Tait

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

Prince-for-a-day baby bungle makes for a good yarn

Jessica Nickelson with 14-month-old daughter, Leila Grenside. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Jessica Nickelson with 14-month-old daughter, Leila Grenside. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Laughing and playing with a curtain cord, baby Leila Grenside had the world's media aflutter when she was mistaken for Prince George watching his parents' welcome to Government House in Wellington.

Cuddling mum Jessica Nickelsen from the second storey of the building overlooking the royal ceremony on Monday afternoon, the 14-month-old was identified as the future King with his Spanish nanny.

Twitter blew up with reports of the youngest royal watching from the window, and the rumours were soon turned to print.

"As driving rain swept Wellington, George did not attend the official welcoming ceremony on the lawns of Government House but he was spotted watching proceedings from a window in the arms of his newly appointed Spanish nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo," the Independent Online reported.

Late yesterday, some of the biggest news outlets including the Guardian, the Mirror, and Hello magazine were still reporting that "Prince George watched proceedings from an upstairs window".

The family found the incident amusing."It's hilarious," said Ms Nickelsen. "She does have short hair and similar colouring, but I love it that nobody thought, 'this is a child wearing a bright yellow dress' as opposed to what [George] had been seen in moments earlier."

Leila is Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae's niece. Her father, Stephen Grenside, is the brother of Sir Jerry's wife, Lady Janine Mateparae.

Ms Nickelsen said her daughter wasn't handling the bad weather well so she took her inside to the Governer-General's private apartment so as not to disrupt the royal engagement.


14-month-old Leila Grenside was mistaken for Prince George. Photo / Mark Mitchell

They enjoyed watching the Duke and Duchess' official welcome, unaware they were causing a stir.

"All we saw was the roped-off media area and just assumed everybody's attention was on William and Kate and the procession," she said.

The family remained unaware of their ill-founded brush with fame until Mr Grenside was told by his sister. "We just had a giggle, but it's very bizarre. I don't know if we should nickname her Prince George any time soon, but it'll be a neat story for her when she's a bit older," he said.

- NZ Herald

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