ROYALTOUR

The Commonwealth's next King has arrived in New Zealand for a whirlwind tour that will take in quake-ravaged Kaikoura, a Mt Roskill school and a historic visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, touched down today, offering fans of the royal family a brief glimpse and a royal wave before being whisked away out of the public eye.

The royal pair have begun their six-day trip in the City of Sails, where they arrived at Whenuapai's RNZAF base on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

A line of neatly dressed dignitaries welcomed the couple, who shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, among others, on the base's tarmac.

Advertisement
The Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy welcomes Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive at RNZAF Base. Photo / Dean Purcell
The Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy welcomes Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive at RNZAF Base. Photo / Dean Purcell

Onlookers were treated to a royal wave from the future King, before he hopped into a waiting car.

Prince Charles. Photo / Dean Purcell
Prince Charles. Photo / Dean Purcell

The couple will visit both the North and South Island, before they part ways as Prince Charles heads to Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands on his way home.

They will make an appearance at Monday morning's wreath-laying ceremony at Mt Roskill War Memorial Park, where the royals will learn of the experience of Niuean soldiers who served during World War I.

The pair will then visit the Wesley Community Centre, before Prince Charles peels away to learn about Critical Design's repurposing of plastic waste into material that can be used to manufacture other products.

A tour of Hunting Lodge Winery precedes a presentation of a Queen's Colour at RNZAF's Whenuapai base, replacing the worn Colour presented by the Queen during her 1953-54 royal tour.

Tuesday sees the future King and his wife welcomed at Auckland's Government House, before the Prince meets Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Simon Bridges.

A tour of Auckland's waterfront rounds out Tuesday afternoon.

The couple will visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on Wednesday, the first time in a quarter-century British royals will have set foot on the Treaty Grounds.

Advertisement

The last royal visit there was also by Prince Charles, back in 1994, when he took part in Waitangi Day commemorations.

Prince Charles receives a hongi from protest leader Mike Smith during Waitangi celebrations in 1994. Photo / Geoff Dale
Prince Charles receives a hongi from protest leader Mike Smith during Waitangi celebrations in 1994. Photo / Geoff Dale

Later in the day Charles and Camilla are expected to visit schools and community volunteers in Paihia and Kerikeri.

Friday sees the pair travel to the Garden City for an afternoon public walkabout at Christchurch's Cathedral Square.

The public walkabout continues on Saturday, but this time the Prince of Wales will be alone in Kaikōura.

READ MORE:
Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrive in New Zealand
Royal escape: Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall's welcome Kiwi break
Before Diana and Camilla, Prince Charles fell for another woman
Royals return to Waitangi after 25 years

The royals' Kiwi touchdown comes amid a bombshell interview with Charles' brother, Prince Andrew, in which he answered questions about his links to late billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein for the first time.

The Duke of York has been facing questions for months over his ties to Epstein, which intensified after a woman accused Epstein of forcing her to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was only 17.

Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, said she was forced to have sex with the Prince three times - In London, New York and Epstein's private Caribbean island - between 2001 and 2002.

Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts, the woman at the centre of sex allegations against the prince. Photo / Supplied
Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts, the woman at the centre of sex allegations against the prince. Photo / Supplied

When questioned by Newsnight's Emily Maitlis on the BBC about Giuffre's claims that she dined and danced with him before having sex with him at a central London house, the Prince replied that it did not happen.

"It didn't happen. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."

When asked once again if he remembered meeting Giuffre, he answered: "No."

Prince Andrew said he kicked himself on a daily basis for choosing to stay at Epstein's Manhattan mansion after Epstein's conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

"It was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that."

When challenged on his decision, the Prince responded that it was a "convenient place to stay".

"I mean I've gone through this in my mind so many times. At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do," he said.

"But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgment was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that's just the way it is."