Royals bring comfort, cheer

23:44, Apr 16 2014
Pat Veltkamp Smith
Columnist Pat Veltkamp Smith was Southland Times women's editor until 1997 and is a former president of the Southland Justices of the Peace Association.

What a week it's been between rooted to the telly to see the day's action, first up to get newspaper coverage in the morning and then a day of driving for quite satisfactory southern glimpses, Dunedin, Queenstown, all our scenic wonderland.

We load up memories for the future with this - and dredge up memories from the past too.

Every 30 years or so, it happens.

In 1953 the Queen came on a months long Commonwealth tour with her husband Prince Philip, leaving her son and heir Princes Charles at home.

Thirty years on, 1983 and Prince Charles and Lady Di came, with son and heir the baby Prince William.

He returns about 30 years later, 2014, the Duke of Cambridge with his Duchess Catherine and infant son and heir Prince George.


Tradition suggests 30-or so years on in, say, 2044 Prince George will return with his bride and the son, or daughter, who will in turn be his heir, successor to the throne.

Each generation has learned from the one before and shorter more sensibly planned tours are a result. William's parents embarked on a gruelling six week journey through Australasia with only the odd break to spend with their baby.

He in turn is enjoying a neat three week tour with his family although by the time the journey ends Team Cambridge - the royals and their core team of 11 which includes a nanny for Prince George, hairdresser and dresser for Kate, private secretaries each, tour organiser, an orderly to handle the luggage and a personal assistant to write thank you letters to hosts and gift givers - will have travelled more than 11,200 kilometres through Australasia.

The tour is reminiscent of that his parents enjoyed although their larger retinue - 18 people including a doctor, a cook, an additional nanny and two valets for Prince Charles - was more like that of the Queen and Prince who at 87 and 92 must travel with medical support.

Yesterday that magical little family left us.

Today they are in the Blue Mountains beyond Sydney meeting with victims and fighters of the devastating bush fires.

They bring comfort and cheer, William's wife Kate attracting the same adoring public response accorded his mother Diana, some 30 years ago.

Ah . . .

Easter blessings!


The Southland Times