Peers of the realm: George's Plunket pals

KEVIN NORQUAY
Last updated 07:53 09/04/2014
Prince George
Getty Images
PRINCE GEORGE: Welcome to public life.

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Security will be suffocatingly tight at Government House today, as Prince George crawls into his first public engagement, a play date with 10 Plunket babies.

But burly men in suits, with earpieces and guns, won't be as keen as the babies' nervous Wellington parents to ensure nothing goes awry. The weapons most likely to cause harm to the 8-month-old future king will be colourful: building blocks, rattles, toy cars and an array of musical instruments.

Any king-hit on George will be world news, with photos and videos of his royal tears and the Kiwi baby-basher zipping across the world within minutes.

So mums and dads whose 8-month- olds were chosen to meet George and his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are primed to intervene if their little treasure aims a block at the royal crown.

"No one wants to have the baby who gave Prince George a bang on the head with a toy," Plunket nurse Tina Syme says.

And the Kiwi parents have been told they can intervene for safety reasons, should the prince throw his weight around.

After today, George is unlikely to be seen out and about on tour. He is set to remain in Wellington with his Spanish nanny while the duke and duchess canvass the country's delights.

All that adds up to what will quite possibly be the most-watched play date ever - it will be televised, tweeted, broadcast, and on Facebook.

A meet-the-babies media session yesterday was a cacophony. There was wailing, gurgling, incomprehensible baby talk, all with a disparate musical accompaniment of rattles, drums and a toy piano.

It went smoothly, until one baby lost it, and started howling. That convinced the others something had gone badly wrong, so they should join in. And they did. Loudly.

On the 1983 tour by Princess Diana and Prince Charles, 9-month-old William was given a Buzzy Bee toy. Prince George is set to get a Plunket bear, and be signed on as a Plunket baby.

Ironically, meeting Prince George will also be forgettable, at least for the babies involved. An 8-month-old wouldn't be able to recall a thing, Syme said. "But because it's part of your family story, it will become part of you, and something to share for generations to come."

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- The Dominion Post

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