Seymour Square the place to see royals
500 media hope to cover royal tourANNA WILLIAMS
The only chance people will have to get up close and personal with the royal couple during their visit to Blenheim next week will be at Seymour Square, according to 2014 Royal Visit Office director Michael Chilton.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be driven in a police motorcade from Woodbourne Royal New Zealand Air Force Base to Seymour Square in Blenheim at 10.45am on Thursday, April 10.
The chances of seeing William and Catherine being driven to Seymour Square would be slim, as they were likely to be travelling at pace, Chilton said.
Police would be driving in front of and behind the car the couple were travelling in. Close protection officers would also be travelling with them and would remain by their sides throughout their national tour.
"If people are keen to see them, they would be much better to go to Seymour Square," he said.
The duke and duchess would take part in a public wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial and Clock Tower, to be followed by a walk through Seymour Square at 11.30am. At 12pm, they would leave the square and go for a private lunch, Chilton said.
He would not give any details on whether the couple would go to a restaurant in Marlborough or eat a catered lunch in private.
At 1.15pm, they would be met by Sir Peter Jackson at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where Jackson would show them around the museum. A Flying Day event will be held to coincide with the visit, and this would be open to the public.
The duke and duchess would then go to Omaka Airfield to view aircraft, Chilton said.
The public would not have access to the couple at this time, however, they would be able to see them in the field from a distance, he said.
Royal tour media spokesman Allen Walley said more than 500 media had applied for accreditation to cover the royal tour. Of the 500, 120 journalists and photographers were from overseas.
It was hard to guess how many people would visit Blenheim, Walley said. "They are an exceedingly visible couple. Whether its die-hard royalists or celebrity watchers, it's impossible to speculate on numbers."
An Air New Zealand spokesman said the airline was not making any changes to its normal Blenheim flights for the visit. "At this stage there is still plenty of availability on existing services," he said.
Marlborough police area commander Inspector Simon Feltham said police were well prepared.
"We know the royals are a big drawcard and we're expecting sizeable crowds," he said. "We are looking forward to them coming to Marlborough and we've been working with the Marlborough District Council and the [Omaka Aviation] Heritage Centre to make sure the visit goes as smoothly as possible."
He would not comment on how many police would be on duty during the visit, or on any aspect of security.
A Blenheim District Court spokeswoman said court staff were talking to police about the possibility of cancelling court cases on the day of the visit. Access to the court would be limited with the closure of roads around Seymour Square during the wreath-laying ceremony.
A decision would be made closer to the day, she said.
The fountain pool at Seymour Square was drained and cleaned yesterday in preparation for the royal visit.
Council reserves and amenities officer Robert Hutchinson said the pool was drained and washed with acid to remove the stains on the upper flute of the fountain.
It is cleaned up to five times a year but was cleaned earlier than usual to remove the "coppery brass" stain before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Blenheim on April 10.
- The Marlborough Express
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