Royals here, baby and all, but not heading our way

Taranaki has been left out in the cold and will not be visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they tour New Zealand next month.

The popular British royals arrive in Wellington with their baby son Prince George aboard a RNZAF aircraft on April 7.

Over the next nine days they will visit Blenheim, Auckland, Hamilton, Cambridge, Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington.

New Plymouth royal watcher and memorabilia collector Barbara Larsen admitted to being a little disappointed at the snub.

"But they work out these things and I suppose they know best where they have to go, especially with the baby. They will leave him somewhere and go out each day I expect," she said.

Though owning a collection of royal memorabilia numbering in the tens of thousands of items, Mrs Larsen said she would not be heading out to see the royals on tour.

"I'm getting a bit old for that," she said.

"But the royals are lucky to have that couple. I think they may be what saves the royal family. They are doing a good job."

Taranaki was last visited by a high-ranking royal in 1977 when Queen Elizabeth dropped in as part of a Commonwealth tour to mark the her silver jubilee

She was already familiar with the region having toured with Prince Philip in 1954. During that visit she stopped in at Patea, Hawera, Stratford, Bell Block and New Plymouth.

Perhaps the most extensive royal visit the country has ever seen, the couple visited 46 towns and attended 110 separate functions. It has been estimated three out of every four New Zealanders saw them.

By comparison The Duke and Duchess will be visiting four North Island centres and four South Island centres.

Taranaki residents contemplating catching up with them should mark April 12 in their diary. That is when they will be visiting Cambridge and Hamilton, both of which are about three hours driving time away.

Taranaki Daily News