Prince Charles welcomed to Christchurch

ANNA TURNER AND RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 13:54 16/11/2012
Daniel Tobin

Prince Charles and Camilla arrive to the official Christchurch welcome at the City Council building.

Prince Charles and Camilla visit Christchurch
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall wave goodbye as they leave Christchurch, bound for Darwin.
charles 1
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Prince Charles and Camilla with Sir Jerry Mateparae and wife Janine cut into one of 64 kiwiana-themed cakes created for his 64th birthday.

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Hundreds of Cantabrians have turned out today to greet Prince Charles and his wife as they make their way around the city.

The city is the final stop for the prince and duchess, who have been visiting New Zealand this week as part of the Queen's diamond jubilee celebration.

They landed at Christchurch International Airport at 11.35am.

The Prince of Wales presented a copy of the letter of condolence sent to Cantabrians on the first anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake to Mayor Bob Parker.

The letter will be included in a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee time capsule to be buried at the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower in Victoria St.

The clock, made in England in 1860, was erected on the corner of High and Manchester streets in 1897 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen's Victoria's accession.

In 1930 it was moved to its present site in Victoria St.

RED ZONE RESIDENTS MEET ROYALS

About 15 red-zoned residents gathered in Oxford Tce to greet Prince Charles and Camilla this morning. 

Bangor St resident Hillary Ruscoe said she was glad the prince would see the earthquake damage.

"I think everybody should have a look and see what we've been through. The Archbishop of Canterbury was horrified when he came."

It was not her first encounter with royalty. She met Princess Margaret in 1948 and saw Prince Philip a year later.

"This will probably be my last royal sighting," Ruscoe said.

"I'm very excited to see him."

Bexley residents Sue and Barry Tutt had been invited to meet the Prince of Wales.

"It's very exciting. Doesn't happen every day," Sue said.

"It will be good for him to go into the buildings to appreciate the damage. Photographs don't do it justice."

The couple said they were nervous to meet the prince but would "follow his lead".

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton will talk to the prince about liquefaction before he is shown some of the abandoned properties.

Earlier, as the prince and duchess arrived in central Christchurch, the crowd of about 200 clapped and cheered.

The royal couple were welcomed to the Christchurch City Council offices in Worcester Boulevard by Ngai Tahu performing a Maori welcome.

Mayor Bob Parker, council chief executive Tony Marryatt, Brownlee and Sutton welcomed the pair.

Prime Minister John Key, who accompanied the royal couple, quickly fixed his collar before sitting down beside Charles for the official welcome.

About 20 people who were seriously injured in the February 2011 earthquake met privately with the royal couple.

Charles and the duchess, accompanied by Brownlee, met inside the council building.

The group of survivors included people who had limbs amputated, crush injuries, head and spinal injuries and severe brain injuries.

Christchurch woman Helen Elliott was in the crowd to see the royal couple, and said she had quite a list of royals she had already met - Prince Edward at Windsor Castle just after the Queen's mother had died and the Queen herself in Greymouth.

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As a child Elliott remembered thousands and thousands of people in Greymouth queuing and waving to the Queen, but today it was a demure crowd of about 200.

"My family laugh at me because I'm a real royalist," she said.

She managed to shake Camilla's hand and said it felt "thin and bony, not like it had done much work like us".

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF...

The royal couple will tour the central city to see how the city is recovering after the earthquakes before driving from Oxford Tce, where they will meet former residents, and continue to the Diamond Jubilee Clock in Victoria St.

About 1.30pm, they will arrive at the Colombo St entrance to the City Mall and are expected to visit the Re:Start mall.

At 2pm, the couple will meet volunteer organisation representatives at the corner of Cashel St and Oxford Tce.

This afternoon they will attend the Canterbury A&P Show, where Charles will present the award for supreme animal in show.

They will leave about 10.30pm, heading for Darwin.

- The Press

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