Royal couple meet the people

21:45, Apr 11 2014
Thelma Sowman
Mayoress Thelma Sowman, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Mayor Alistair Sowman

Prince William said people could be very proud of Blenheim, Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said after meeting the prince and his wife Catherine.

Sowman and wife Thelma Sowman hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I this year and other military campaigns New Zealand has been involved in.

Prince William asked questions about the memorial clock tower in Seymour Square, where the wreath was laid, and about Blenheim, Sowman said.

Seymour Square
Between 7,000 and 10,000 people packed Seymour Square

"We could be very proud of Blenheim, he said, and I said we were."

Sowman said Prince William had commented on how many vineyards there were between Woodbourne Airport and the centre of Blenheim.

"He said he was getting thirsty driving past all these vineyards. I said to him ‘have a glass of sauvignon at lunch, sir'. They were a very relaxed couple."


Kate spent time with ever person in the front row

The couple related to people, Sowman said.

"I saw the duke on his knees playing with children. People responded, they were absolutely delighted to see him."

There was a very good feeling in the crowd, he said.

All those hours of getting their bow and curtsy correct were wasted for the Sowmans, who said the royal couple put their hands out to shake hands rather than wait for formal introductions.

"They didn't wait for us to get introduced. When they got out, they stuck their hands out and said ‘how are you? good to meet you'.

"We didn't get to bow or curtsy."

Sowman said the visit had been extremely good for Marlborough.

Part of that was an event at Omaka for visiting media, showcasing not only the museum but Marlborough food and wine.

"That large contingent of international media here, the ones I spoke to from Britain and Australia were extremely impressed, with the hospitality and with the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. (Former Spitfire pilot and Marlborough resident) Bunty (Harcourt Bunt) was the star."

The Marlborough Express