Tea, tiaras on special day

22:05, Apr 09 2014
royal visit
Seymour Square
Where to be at Seymour Square
Omaka aviation heritage centre
Where to be on the flying day

The stage is set, the Union Jacks are ready and the bone china has been dusted down - now we await our royal visitors.

Marlborough is in the grip of a royal frenzy from toddlers perfecting their inner princess to senior citizens supping English tea.

Memorabilia has been flying off the shelves with royal watchers snapping up Union Jack flags and bunting.


The hottest topic on social media is whether to take a day off work or enjoy a long lunch to catch a glimpse of the couple at Seymour Square.

Melanie Bown's daughter Delilah is planning to be a princess for the day. The 2-year-old will wear a pink tulle dress and sequin slippers topped off with a tiara.

Delilah and her friends Sienna Morgan and Eva Graham along with their mothers will enjoy the English tradition of high tea before pitching up on a prime spot at Seymour Square for a glimpse of the royal couple.


Delilah Bown
Pretty princess: Delilah Bown is excited about becoming a princess for the day during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Blenheim.

Bown said dressing up was a fun way to mark the day.

"She loves wearing the crown," Bown laughs. "You can tell she feels quite superior in it.

"I hope she will attract Kate's attention. When I was little I saw Princess Anne in Blenheim. She stopped and talked to me and I made it on TV after I said she sounded like the lady from Absolutely Fabulous. I hope history might repeat itself."

Maria Martin
Hot property: The Only $3 Shop is doing a roaring trade in Union Jack flags and bunting ahead of the Royal Visit tomorrow. Staff member Maria Martin with some of the merchandise.

Delilah hopes to get the chance to present a posy of flowers to the Duchess and a handmade card for Prince George.

Bown has been ticking off the days on her royal calendar. Since the couple arrived in Wellington on Monday, she has been glued to the television.

"The more I watch on TV the more excited I get."

Bown has adorned her Percy St home with bunting and hopes it will be a day to remember.

"It will be a fun morning for the kids. People should get into the spirit. It is an amazing thing for Blenheim. We should be excited and use it as an opportunity to promote our town across the world. Their visit will be part of New Zealand history."

Royal memorabilia has been hot property.

Only $3 shop owner Rex McCaa said flags, bunting and crowns had been top sellers.

"Customers are really excited," McCaa said. "Today will be busy as people make a last-ditch run for souvenirs. We have had quite a number of schools coming in for flags that children will wave and people seeking memorabilia for tea parties."

Gifts on Grove co-owner Xuemei Zhang said their signature T-shirt embossed with a picture of the royal couple had been popular.

"We have sold a large number of T-shirts and more will arrive today to meet demand.

"Our postcards with the Duke, Duchess and Prince George on the front and Seymour Square on the back and the date of the visit have been very popular. We had a tourist from Canada who was going to send a postcard to their grandchildren."

Thirty residents at Bethsaida Retirement Village will sit down to afternoon tea while they watch the television coverage.

Diversional therapist Lorraine Davis said residents preferred to view the Seymour Square wreath-laying ceremony from the comfort of their home.

On the menu were cucumber sandwiches, asparagus rolls and ham sandwiches with the all important crusts cut off.

Residents will sup tea from fine bone china, but only one would get to drink from the coveted Union Jack cup.

Davis joked there may be a musical interlude with a number of residents eager to tickle the ivories with a rendition of the national anthem.

"I think it will be quite a surreal experience for them but an enjoyable one," Davis said.

Royals in Blenheim whatever the weather


10.45am: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Base Woodbourne


* Joined by Prime Minister John Key and Bronagh Key, Opposition leader David Cunliffe and Karen Price-Cunliffe, Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Tim Keating and Brenda Keating.

* No opportunity for the public to see the royals.

11am: Arrive at Seymour Square

* Mayor Alistair Sowman and Thelma Sowman receive the official party.

* Duke and Duchess greeted by Marlborough RSA vice-presidents Rod Shoemark and Ross Cooke.

* The Duke and Duchess lay a wreath at the War Memorial Clock Tower.

* The last post is played.

* The Ode delivered in Maori and English.

* One minute silence.

* Olivia Burns and Alice Schofield sing the New Zealand national anthem accompanied by the Marlborough District Brass Band.

* The Duke and Duchess introduced to invited guests.

11.30am: Royal couple start their public walk through Seymour Square.

noon: Royal party leave for private lunch.

1pm: Greeted at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre by Jane Orphan and Sir Peter Jackson.

1.15pm: Tour of museum with Jackson and view other heritage aircraft outdoors. (Museum closed to the public all day)

2.15pm: Leave for Base Woodbourne.

Road closures

Seymour St: High St to John St

High St: Seymour St to Henry St

Alfred St: Henry St to Alfred St Car Park building

Henry St: High St to Alfred St

Cars parked in these areas from 6pm tonight will be removed. Free parking provided in the Alfred St Car Park.

Omaka Flying Day: Noon - 4pm

Aerodrome Rd to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Cars parked anywhere along Aerodrome Rd or the road reserve will be removed from 6am.



The Marlborough Express