Selfies, jokes and royal charm

20:43, Apr 10 2014
portrait unveiling of Queen
BIG MOMENT: The unveiling of the portrait of Her Majesty the Queen of New Zealand by Nick Cuthell.

The prince joked, the duchess charmed and some of the guests took selfies.

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge entered the ballroom of Government House, it was to much fanfare, with the air force brass band trumpeting them to last night's state reception and then playing God Save The Queen.

Catherine drew gasps with her stunning black Jenny Packham dress, with silver ferns embroidered over it in intricate beading.

Prince William's speech began with a Maori greeting, and got a loud "kia ora" in response.

"No insults yet," he joked.

Prince George may have been sleeping, but William got a few laughs by apologising to host Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, saying he hoped his young son had not kept him up at night.


"He has been known to be particularly vocal at 3am and I swear I heard him doing the haka this morning."

His "bonnie wee lad" needed all the strength training he could get, "preparing himself for life as a prop forward".

The couple unveiled an official portrait of William's gran, painted by Wellington artist Nick Cuthell.

The Queen had allowed him an hour's sitting.

The 87-year-old monarch was in a simple blue day dress that Cuthell revealed he asked her to wear. It was adorned with the New Zealand silver fern brooch Kate has been wearing on her lapel during this tour.

The painting is to hang as part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery at Shed 11 on the aptly named Queens Wharf. It is available for public viewing from tomorrow.

As the duke and duchess moved through the crowd, some guests took the opportunity to document the occasion.

National MP Tau Henare was one to snap a selfie with Catherine in the background.

The official guest count was 198, which meant a very quick "how do you do", before the duke and duchess were whisked off to the next group of outstretched hands.

Earlier the couple had brief meetings with Labour leader David Cunliffe and Prime Minister John Key. The prince told Key he expected his race-off against Catherine on the America's Cup boats today in Auckland to be "a bit of healthy competition".

The Dominion Post