Kate's famous smile charmed thousands of royal fans in Marlborough today, but for one World War II veteran meeting the "lovely'' Duchess was extra special.

Wilton Sterritt, who served as a seaman for the Royal New Zealand Navy, was one of 10 veterans who met Catherine at Blenheim's Seymour Square.

Tucked away in his jacket pocket was a 40-year-old photograph of himself and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, from the Christchurch Commonwealth Games in 1974.

On seeing the photograph, which features a relaxed and much younger-looking Prince Philip, Kate beamed with delight.


"I was on the organising committee [for the Commonwealth] games. I had to show him [Prince Philip] around all the shooting venues,'' Mr Sterritt told media.

While he acknowledged the photo had been a hit with Kate, Mr Sterritt - who gave his age as over 90 - confessed to not being too aware of the conversation when asked what the pair had discussed.

"I've got a short memory,'' he laughed.

''[She said] 'oh, pleased to meet you'.''

When asked what he thought of Kate, Mr Sterritt said: "lovely, isn't she, very natural".

Mr Sterritt, who lives in Renwick, said his daughter had "fished out'' the photo for today's occasion.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is shown a photograph of veteran Wilton Sterritt with Prince Philip from 1974. Photo / Getty Images, Teuila Fuatai