Continuing with their busy tour of New Zealand, on the 12th The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took a flight to Hamilton, Waikato, and undertook solo engagements before regrouping in their namesake town of Cambridge.
Arriving together on a RNZAF plane, the couple were once again greeted by cheering crowds. They then went their separate ways to attend different engagements; whilst Kate attended a tea party at a children’s hospice, William visited the Pacific Aerospace factory.
At Rainbow Place Children’s Hospice, The Duchess was greeted by crowds from the small town of Hamilton. Some of the young girls at Rainbow Place had dressed up as princesses and one young girl said that Kate had made her feel like a princess as she chatted with numerous children at the hospice, showing her natural people skills.
The centre is only small, but offers day counselling, as well as overnight stays for families of the young patients. The Duchess observed an Art Therapy session before meeting with patients and their families.
Back in the UK, Catherine is patron of East Anglia Children’s Hospices, one of her first patronages since she married Prince William; the Ipswich branch where she made her first public speech. It is said The Duchess has made children’s hospices her mission on her tour Down Under because there are so few in Australasia.
Kate acknowledged the special nature of the hospice by saying: “I’m sure you’re all going through difficult times and so it’s really good to have a place like this, I’m sure, to be able to talk about your feelings and to meet other people who are going through the same thing. There should be more places like this”.
Asked by a 14-year-old patient whether she eats her vegetables, Kate laughed and said she did but admitted that “it was a problem getting George to eat them.” She continued, saying that she and William had to mash up all his vegetables so he wouldn’t notice. As a guest at an Alice in Wonderland themed tea-party, the menu for the patients and The Duchess included jellied eyeballs, huhu grubs, flower pots of sweet chocolate mud and crispy chicken lolly pops: perhaps vegetables are a little more palatable!
Prince William enjoyed a more intimate engagement, also in Hamilton, with the press being kept at a distance, so The Duke could speak openly with people there. One young girl was stung by a bee just a few minutes before William arrived and it is reported that William consoled her as he chatted with crowds, showing he is just as good with the children as his wife.
Pacific Aerospace makes small aircraft, often used for skydives, and aerial tours of New Zealand, and was established after the Second World War. As an ex-RAF Search and Rescue Pilot, William naturally takes an interest in aviation, and was seen squeezing into a vintage plane in Blenheim a few days ago.
After meeting up again in Cambridge, the Royal couple visited the local War Memorial and placed two single roses upon it. The Cambridges then opened a new Avantidrome in the town, which is named after the second Duke of Cambridge, who was Queen Victoria’s cousin.
It was here that they met with New Zealand cyclist Olympians. Eric Murray, a Kiwi gold medallist, said it was “a bit surreal that the couple came to Cambridge…We have a special link with the sovereign here. It’s wonderful. They were saying they want to get George into rowing because he’s got long legs.” William and Catherine were also gifted with biking lycras for Prince George, as well as a small bike. This comes a day after receiving a small dinghy as a gift for the young prince.
The Duke and Duchess then met with the thousands of people who had gathered to meet them in Cambridge on another walkabout. One cheeky youngster asked William what it was like to sing with Taylor Swift, whilst Catherine revealed, in response to a compliment on her outfit, that her husband thought that her Erdem emerald green coat was a bit too bright! The Duchess wore the coat with a green and white patterned Suzannah dress beneath and her Episode Angel black pumps.
Photo Credit: Government House, New Zealand