UK & World News

  • 10 April 2014, 18:10

Royal Tour: Kate And William's First Walkabout

The Duke of Cambridge has joked that his son is preparing for a rugby career following Prince George's boisterous New Zealand playgroup appearance.

Prince William was speaking at a state reception in Wellington's Government House, where he unveiled a new portrait of his grandmother, the Queen.

The Duke charmed his audience by suggesting the prince had been heard performing the haka - the war dance made famous by the All Blacks rugby team.

He said: "Thank you for hosting Catherine, George and me during our time in New Zealand.

"I hope that Georgedoesn't keep you up, he has been known to be particularly vocal at 3am and I swear I heard him doing the Haka this morning.

"He's a bonny lad and you'll be pleased to know that he's currently preparing for life as a prop forward."

The Duke and Duchess were earlier greeted by huge crowds on the first major walkabout of their tour as they paid their respects to New Zealand's war dead in Blenheim.

During the event, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Keys reaffirmed his country's commitment to the royal family for many years to come in an interview with Sky News.

Speaking about Prince William, he told Sky's Royal Correspondent Paul Harrison: "He will be king of New Zealand and I think for New Zealanders, they feel a strong connection with the royal family.

"The country is hugely in favour of being a constitutional monarchy, probably the opinion polls show it's about four to one in favour of New Zealand remaining a constitutional monarchy, so in all probability William will be king of New Zealand one day."

The couple were given gifts including booties and a teddy bear for eight-month-old George, who was spending the day being looked after by nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo at Government House, the family's base during the tour.

Annette Michna-Konigstorfer, a 55-year-old tutor, said: "I asked him how his kid was and he said he hopes he's not chewing everything at Government House.

"William was fantastic and wonderful - I love all the royal family."

When the Duke met a little girl close to his son's age he played along with a joke about the babies dating when they are older.

Tai Dixon, 35,sat her 11-month-old daughter Iona on a crash barrier and William brought a smile to her face when he tickled the child.

Mrs Dixon, a midwife originally from Holmfirth, Yorkshire, said: "William said it would be hilarious if he brought George here, he said he was drooling."

She was joined by her mother Cali Grainne Rainbow, who added: "I'm in New Zealand to see my granddaughter and I said she could get together with George and William said he would set them up."

Lilah Bowers, 10, gave the Duchess, who wore a blue Alexander McQueen coat, a black bracelet made out of rubber bands and was told by the royal visitor that it "could start a trend".

Lilah, from Blenheim, said: "We asked her about Prince George and she said she would have taken him everywhere but he would have been a bit noisy."

The couple were in Blenheim to lay a wreath as part of New Zealand's build-up to Anzac Day, which falls later this month, and were wearing commemorative poppy pins in tribute to the fallen.

The royal couple were also given a tour ofOmaka Aviation Heritage Centre by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and were presented with a child-size flying helmet, lined with possum skin, for Prince George.

Advertisement