Royals reach Top of the South

Last updated 12:58 10/04/2014

Royal tour hits Marlborough

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have completed their first New Zealand walkabout at a packed Seymour Square in Blenheim.

And just about everyone in the front row of the crowd was rewarded for their wait with William and Kate taking their time to greet them.

Mackenzie Large, 5, was surprised when Kate stopped and talked to her. The Duchess asked her why she was giving her flowers. "I said because I wanted to," Mackenzie said.

She said "the princess" looked very pretty.

"She had a pretty blue dress and I liked her shoes and her hair and her earrings," she said.

Mackenzie was looking forward to telling her friends what happened, she said.

People rushed to the barrier lining the path the royal couple were to walk down, standing on tip toes to get a glimpse of the royals.

Blenheim woman Yvonne Walker was shaking after she shook Kate's hand. "It's really a once in a lifetime thing for most of us," she said. "That was just awesome."

Her mother, Margaret Marfell, 79, was also ecstatic when the Duchess shook her hand as she walked past.

"I didn't think I'd ever see them in person, and I got to shake her hand," she said.

Marlborough Girls' College student Brydie Godsiff, 15, was overwhelmed she got to shake Kate's hand.

"She was walking past and said hello, and I shook her hand and she kept going," she said. "My heart's racing.You see them on the TV all the time, she's just perfect."

Debbie Herron said she was hugely impressed with how much time Catherine took to talk with the crowd.

"She is so gracious with her time," Herron said.

"She didn't just rush through, everyone in the front row got to meet her and even those a row back who stuck out their hands got a handshake. Her handshake was very good, very walk and sincere."

Jane Leaning was still shaking after she got to shake Kate's hand.

"She asked who made my hat, I said my aunty Lou. Then she saw my T-shirt and said I was very patriotic. She thanked me for coming.

"It was so exciting, I'm still shaking."

RAPTUROUS RECEPTION

Earlier William and Kate laid at wreath at Blenheim's World War I memorial cenotaph in front of the excited crowd.

There was loud cheering shortly after 11.15am as the PA announcer said "their royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge".

William was wearing medals on his left lapel, while Kate has trotted out a pony tail for the first time on tour and was wearing an a blue skirt and jacket with back pleats, designed by Alexander McQueen.

She was also wearing a poppy brooch on her left lapel, which was the WW100 pin, marking a century since World War I broke out.

William's medals were the Queens golden diamond jubilee medals.

After the cheering and excitement that marked the arrival of the royal couple, the event went quiet for several minutes while respects were paid to the fallen of World War I and II.

The duke and duchess stood, heads bowed, in silence, then walked slowly forward to lay a wreath of flowers at the base of the cenotaph, as an eerie calm fell over a town that had been rippling with excitement for the past hour.

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William and Kate separated to meet two groups of war veterans seated on the paving stones near the cenotaph.

Kate did much more than the customary hand shake and move on.

She smiled warmly as she shook hands and spoke at length with 10 of the returned servicemen.

One veteran handed her a photo, which she showed the mayoress, who was beside her.

They were accompanied by Marlborough District mayor Alistair Sowman and his wife, Thelma, on the walk about.

William spoke with the college students who sang, before rejoining his wife and turning their attention to the waiting fans in the crowd, who again cheered as they walked through the clock tower.

The couple split up and headed to either side of the square to speak to people in the crowd.

The crowd looking on was five deep in places, with some having waited since first light to secure a front row position and prime viewing.

Squeezed up against the barricade fences separating the public from the royals, was five-year-old Jessica Curzon in her school uniform and waving a union jack her grandmother bought her at the $3 shop.

Asked why she wasn't at schools he said her nana had asked the teacher if she could have the day off.

"I wanted to see the princess...to see them both."

Asked why she was so keen, she responded "They have dresses that are nice."

- Marlborough

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