Changing face of monarchists

BRITTANY MANN
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014
Members of Monarchy New Zealand Chloe Oldfield, 21 and Pita Roycroft, 19.
CAMERON BURNELL/ Fairfax NZ

YOUNG FANS: Members of Monarchy New Zealand Chloe Oldfield, 21 and Pita Roycroft, 19, are full of praise for royals.

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New Zealand monarchists are no longer the decorative-plate collecting, tea-towel toting fuddy-duddies of yore.

Chloe Oldfield, the vice-chairwoman of Monarchy New Zealand, is just 21. She is excited about this month's royal tour by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and said many young people were similarly enthusiastic.

There had been a "huge resurgence" in the popularity of the royals, the Wellingtonian told Fairfax Media.

Being able to relate to the younger generation of down-to-earth royals, such as Prince William and Catherine, was a driving force.

Their wedding in 2011, and the birth of their son, Prince George, last year, had generated further warmth towards the monarchy, Oldfield said.

Over the past two decades, the royal family has made a conscious effort to modernise to remain relevant.

In New Zealand, the duke, duchess and Prince George will have a social media reporter with them.

They will tap into the younger generation by posting real-time photos, videos and updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook via @GovGeneralNZ with the hashtag #RoyalVisit NZ.

In what will be Prince George's first official visit abroad, Oldfield said it would be important for the young family to "forge their own pathway" in their relationship with New Zealand.

Prince William felt a strong affinity with New Zealand, having followed the 2005 Lions rugby tour and having visited Christchurch after its massive earthquake in 2011.

Pita Roycroft, another Monarchy New Zealand member, predicted the royals' humanity, rather than their celebrity, would prompt New Zealanders to turn out in droves to see them.

The visit was a "great chance for New Zealand to get to know them a bit better," the Wellington 19-year-old said.

"Where I'll be when they're here, is where they are."

In the lead-up to the tour, Oldfield was seeing "a real buzz which will only increase".

"It's comforting and pleasant to see that people are taking an interest in the monarchy. I'm excited."


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