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Royal escort's allergy anxiety

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014
students, royals
Bruce Mercer/Fairfax NZ

TOUR OF ROYAL DUTIES: Keeley Portegys, left, and Ariahuia Te Ruki will help the royals on their tour of Cambridge.

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The big day's getting close and the tension is growing as two Cambridge students prepare for their tour of royal duty for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince William and his wife Catherine will make a public appearance in Cambridge on Saturday. St Peters student Ariahuia Te Ruki, 15, and Keeley Portegys, 15, who attends Cambridge High School, will escort them and collect any flowers and gifts presented to them should they choose to greet the crowd.

Only a few days remain before the royal couple touch down in the Waikato and Ariahuia hopes the job won't aggravate her allergies.

"It's an honour, but on the other hand I'm pretty terrified that I don't sneeze all over the flowers," she said. "I've been thinking all this week and last week, how I'm going to stop it and I think I should just take some more tablets."

Ariahuia was recognised among 15 shortlisted St Peter's girls for her ability to get the job done and her dedication to her school, but the chance to meet royalty was beyond anything she could imagine.

"I just don't think it's real," she said.

"Everyone is freaking out because they are coming and I feel like it's not even going to happen, like I'm not even going to meet them."

International media were expected to pour into the Waikato town and a well-placed photo could have the girls trending across the world on social media which was a little overwhelming, said Ariahuia.

The dress code for the Saturday was her formal school uniform but while she would miss out on a day off, she said it was worth it for the once in a lifetime experience.

"That's why I took it instead of relaxing at home watching TV. I just hope I don't faint."

Keeley had no idea she was selected until she was pulled out of English class by her school principal to discuss a serious issue.

"I thought, oh, what have I done? I was freaking out."

She returned to class overwhelmed but had to keep the news to herself and now just days away from the event, reality has started to bite.

"It's kind of just sinking in and it's so close now."

She went home to tell her family and got a mixed reaction from them.

"My little sister was mad about it, she was like, ‘Argh, you're so lucky'.

"My dad was was quite excited."

Keeley might have to give up a game of netball to complete her royal duties in front of the thousands expected to turn out in Cambridge, but said she didn't mind.

"It's something I will definitely remember." 

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- Waikato Times

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