Hague vague on royal baby's sex

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 12:21 15/01/2013
Fairfax NZ

British Foreign Secretary William Hague answers readers' questions

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague doesn't know if Kate Middleton's unborn baby is a boy or girl but either way he'd like to see the child as the King or Queen of New Zealand one day.

Hague, who is in New Zealand to meet political leaders and is visiting Auckland and Christchurch, answered questions in a live chat on Stuff this morning.

One daring reader questioned Hague on the gender of the pending royal baby, which the Prince's office today confirmed was due in July.

Hague said he did not have the inside word on the baby's gender and would not guess as he was "not a betting man".

"Well done asking me an impossible question," he said.

Either way it seems Hague would support the baby being the sovereign of New Zealand.

Asked whether he supported New Zealand and Australia becoming republics, he said it was an issue for the countries themselves.

However he noted an Australian referendum a few years ago saw the majority vote against becoming a republic.

"Personally, you will not be surprised to hear that I am a 100 per cent supporter of the monarchy and during the Diamond Jubilee last year I felt very sorry for people who lived in mere republics," he said.

He also said Britain was increasing its focus on the Asia Pacific region.

"You can see that in the reinforcement of our diplomatic network around the region and the sharp increase in our ministerial visits."

He said Britain was boosting its presence around the world, opening 20 embassies and consulates.

Foreign Office civil servants supported the move and did not mimic 1980s BBC satire sitcom Yes Minister, Hague said, adding: "Sir Humphrey is not living in the Foreign Office!"

On more serious issues Hague said he supported peace in Syria, the government in Mali, and a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel despite Israeli settlement expansion making it difficult.

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