Quake-ravaged Christchurch is set to benefit from Prince William, who visits the city today, and Kate Middleton's wedding after they asked people intending to send them wedding gifts to instead give money to charity.
Prince William landed in the country shortly before 8am today and will tour Christchurch's destroyed CBD before travelling to Greymouth this afternoon to meet families of the victims of the Pike River mine disaster.
The Prince was officially welcomed by mayor Len Brown before boarding his flight to Christchurch.
Chief press secretary Glyn Jones said it was a very low key handshake, "just a few moments [and] a brief welcome".
Tomorrow he will meet Sumner residents in Christchurch, before attending the quake memorial service.
A spokesman for St James's Palace said overnight that guests at the April 29 wedding and those who simply wanted to express their goodwill could pay into a charitable gift fund, which will support 26 charities.
Although most of the charities were based in Britain, they include the New Zealand Government's appeal for aid following Christchurch's 6.3-magnitude earthquake last month.
''Having been touched by the goodwill shown them since the announcement of their engagement, Prince William and Miss Middleton have asked that anyone who might wish to give them a wedding gift consider giving instead to a charitable fund,'' a spokesman for the palace said.
Australian charities were also included, and the spokesman said their choices reflected ''the couple's close ties to and affection for'' there and New Zealand.
''The couple have chosen to take the chance to benefit some causes that have less exposure or which are undertaking valuable work in areas of the community which the couple feel would benefit from this support,'' the spokesman said.
Donations via the website, www.royalweddingcharityfund.org, are possible in six currencies.
The money will be held and distributed by a charitable foundation set up by William and his brother, Prince Harry.
Prime Minister John Key said the addition of the Christchurch relief fund to the small list of charities on the register reflected the couple's close ties to and affection for New Zealand.
"I believe it's a mark of great respect for New Zealand that the couple have nominated the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal as one of those charities," Key said.
"The Prince's support for New Zealand at this time underscores his commitment to the country and I am very pleased to be hosting him for his visit."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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