Royal tour: New Georgian era

KEVIN NORQUAY
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014

Prince George's right royal play date

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In his first royal engagement, Prince George swiftly showed signs of the three kingly qualities.

At a Government House play date with 10 Plunket babies, the 8-month-old demonstrated chivalry, bravery and leadership, amid baby bedlam.

Bravery: set loose on the floor by his mother Kate, he swiftly took up a prominent central position, with no sign of being overawed by the wee Kiwi strangers gurgling in weird accents.

Leadership: having taken the middle ground, he surveyed his realm, and went for the toy that most attracted him. The biggest one.

Chivalry: here, he might need to brush up a bit. He swiped a colourful wooden Mary-Lou doll away from one of his guests, then discarded it.

When the dungaree-clad tot met Eden Alves he stroked her head (chivalrous), dislodged her headband, then batted her a little harder (not so chivalrous).

‘‘He was his own little man,’’ Wellington parent Grant Collinge told reporters afterward.

‘‘He sort of took control. He went into the middle of a circle of toys, hunted out the biggest toy, propped himself up - he owned the place basically.’’

For a few minutes inside the Blundell Room, it was no longer Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince George, but doting parents Wills and Kate and their wee one - well, not all that wee, by comparison he was a big bruiser of a boy.

Kate smiled and laughed, canvassing topics with the other first time parents such as teething - George has a few regal chompers - and feeding. Wills discussed how best to handle jet lag when travelling with a baby.

They were at ease with the Kiwi mums and dads, and with George, as the group dined on egg and chive finger sandwiches, mousetraps with Cwmglyn cheddar, raspberry lamingtons, neenish tarts and afghan biscuits

What was meant to be ‘‘a fun opportunity for the royals’’ in the words of Plunket nurse Tina Syme proved just that.

But outside the room, it was a different story, with millions on edge awaiting rare pictures of the king-to-be. Even the British public have been starved of photos since George was born in July.

‘‘This is a massive day for both the British media and the British public, it’s very exciting that we’re getting to see Prince George,’’ said The Sun royal correspondent Emily Andrews.

‘‘It’s his first royal engagement, it will be the first of many, he will have a lifetime of these.’’

On the 1983 tour by Princess Diana and Prince Charles, 9-month-old William was famously given a Buzzy Bee toy, sucking on its antennae. 

Yesterday was an echo of that day. Prince George got a blue Plunket bear, and was signed on as a Plunket baby.

‘‘The Duke and Duchess wanted to do something similar,’’ Andrews said.

‘‘But they wanted to do it their way, they wanted to do it in a more informal setting.’’

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And if you’re looking to pick up your wee one some dungarees like George wore be prepared for a couple of shocks - they retail for $148, and everything he’s pictured in has a tendency to sell out. 

Kate’s dress was from designer Tory Burch’s Resort 14 collection and sells for about $760.

Prince George has now completed his tour formal engagements. He will remain in Wellington with his Spanish nanny as his parents travel to Blenheim today, then Auckland tomorrow.

After that come the Waikato, Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch and back to Wellington.

On most of those days, they will return to Wellington to be with George, who is on his first overseas jaunt.

He should have his chivalry sorted out by the time the trio depart for Australia, next Wednesday. He might need it there.

- Fairfax Media

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