Our new friends Prince Harry and his growing wife the Duchess of Sussex arrived in Wellington yesterday to begin their four-day working holiday and I got there just in time to see their plane thrown like a rock on to the tarmac. A frisky northerly had got up.

A warm, spontaneous cheer went up when the royals hopped off the plane, but I held my emotions in check and watched with the cool detachment of a seasoned royal correspondent.

I am a royal watcher from way back, since Saturday, when I marched into WestCity mall in Henderson and bought the latest copies of monarchy gazettes Woman's Day, the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, the Australian Women's Weekly, and New Idea.

Have I got news for you! Apparently the Duchess is with child - and the common consensus is that the Prince is the father, which is as it should be. The royals are sticklers for protocol.


I also learned that the Duchess colours her hair with vegan dye, and that 10 staff are travelling on the royal tour.

They include press secretaries, a hairdresser, and the Holder of the Royal Loofah.

The entourage stepped off the plane into the bright light of a New Zealand afternoon in spring, followed by the royal couple, sweetly hand in hand.

About maybe 200 people gathered behind a wire fence to welcome the royals. "It's Sunday in Wellington," said Brian Henderson, 80, who drove in from his retirement home in Taita, "and there's nothing else to do."

A quick preview of Prince Harry and Meghan's visit to NZ.

He was parked between Lyall Bay and the airport. There was a sign on the rocks above the sea advising that rat poison was in use.

Kam Mellors, 62, stood on the rocks with her schnauzer, Misty. She hadn't known the royals were arriving - she had come to collect mussels at low tide. Steaming them is the best way to cook them, she believed, and same for the crabs she picked off the rocks.

"But what you want to do," she said, "is steam with seawater. See? That's the thing. Get yourself a bucket of seawater. I'm seriously thinking about making a Vietnamese sauce to go with that. Coriander is my new favourite herb."

I wanted nothing more in the world than to walk into the surf at Lyall Bay and fill a bucket of seawater, and eat of the bounty of the sea with Kam, a Maori woman with a big smile.


But a royal watcher has to make sacrifices in order to follow the noble calling of traipsing after royalty, and I made my way across town to the War Memorial, for the next engagement - the laying of a wreath and the playing of a bugle.

The wreath was laid and the bugle played. The fallen were honoured.

It was a sombre ceremony and there was nearly a full minute's silence. And then the Prince and the Duchess turned to face the watching public, who were maybe about 3000 in number, and the crowd said as one: "Whooo!"

The best-dressed whoooer in the crowd was Jason Parker, 27, a hairdesser who was a vision in pink from head to foot, including "a grandma cardigan with sequins and little roses".

He made a speech. "Suits," he said. "Loved Suits. Obviously I'm here mostly for Meghan Markle. She was so great in Suits! Although she got really annoying. She wore a lot of pencil skirts. Not a fan of pencil skirts.

"Prince Harry - he's a lot of fun. He's the prince we young people need. He loves to party. We love to party."

It was a world-class speech, but then he asked, "Are you with the Daily Mail?" "No," I said. "Oh well," he said, and turned to gaze upon the marvels vegan dye can perform on a royal head of hair.