Royal rapture visits Cambridge

22:56, Apr 11 2014
Veterans in Seymour Square
Veterans in Seymour Square
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Duchess of Cambridge greets war veterans after laying a wreath with her husband, Britain's Prince William, at the war memorial in Seymour Square
Jeremy Hall
Jeremy Hall Korea and Malaya Veteran (NZ Navy) shares a joke with Prince William
Ron Hemming
WW 2 Royal Navy Veteran Ron Hemming meets Prince William.
Brian Schwass.
The Duchess speaks to WW 2 RNZAF Veteran Brian Schwass.
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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speaks with veterans at a ceremony at the war memorial in Seymour Square
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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talks to a war veteran after the wreath laying ceremony at the Blenheim War Memorial
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A gentleman is always prepared
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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets veterans in Seymour Square
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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talks to a war veteran after the wreath laying ceremony at the Blenheim War Memorial
Prince William
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge speaks with veterans at a ceremony at the war memorial in Seymour Square

A sea of Union Jack flags and banners will greet William and Catherine today as they visit the Waikato town that bears their title.

Cambridge has been buzzing with excitement and activity for weeks ahead of the visit. The town of trees is packed to bursting point and in between showers of rain yesterday frantic last-minute preparations were under way.

On the streets and in the cafes and shops there was only one topic of conversation: the royals.

The Royals in Camrbridge
Colonial Heritage Antiques owner Ken Sheldrick and shop assistant Margaret Grant were among the Cambridge townsfolk looking forward to today’s royal visit.
The Royals in Camrbridge
Stephen White and Wayne Green were busy setting up security fencing around the Cambridge Town Hall yesterday.
The Royals in Cambridge
Rolling out the red carpet at the Avanti Velodrome.
The Royals in Cambridge
Cathy Bazley camped overnight to get the best seat to view Kate and Will at the Cambridge Town Hall.
The Royals in Cambridge
The fans are out in force in Cambridge for Wills and Kate already.
royals, visit
We have touchdown - the royals have landed in Hamilton.
The Royals visit the Waikato
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Hamilton.
The Royals visit Waikato
The royals have only just touched down in Hamilton and Cambridge is already buzzing with activity.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duchess has arrived at Rainbow Place.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duke of Cambridge at Pacific Aerospace
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duchess with Bailey Taylor, 6, at Rainbow Place.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duchess meeting kids in the Art Therapy Room of Rainbow Place.
The Royals visit Waikato
Excitement mounts in Cambridge as the countdown to the royal arrival begins.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duchess meets The Flash at Rainbow Place. Flash's sister, Bailey Taylor, also met the duchess today.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duchess meeting families at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Mad Hatters Tea Party at Rainbow Place was a colourful affair.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duke of Cambridge signed Hamilton city's guest book
The Royals visit Waikato
Loyal royalists Pauline Lisignoli, John Nahels and Judy Hoult wait for a chance to see Kate at Rainbow Place
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duke makes some new friends at Pacific Aerospace.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duke watches Pacific Aerospace in action.
The Royals visit Waikato
Six-year-old Kaiya Miller from Matamata speaks with Kate. Kaiya suffers from cystic fibrosis (CF) was chosen to present the duchess with a bunch of flowers during her visit.
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duke and Duchess arrive in Cambridge and speak to townsfolk before entering the town hall
The Royals visit Waikato
The Duchess speaks a pair in Cambridge before entering the town hall
The Royals visit Waikato
The duke meets a young girl during his visit to Pacific Aerospace
The Royals visit Waikato
A young girl presents the Duke with a gift during this visit to Pacific Aerospace
The Royals visit Waikato
The mayor of Hamilton, Julie Hardaker, greets the Duke and Duchess upon the royal couple's arrival in Hamilton.
The Royals visit Waikato
The royal couple wave as they walk down bright yellow steps onto the tarmac.
The Royals visit Waikato
Prince William inspects the cockpit of a plane at Pacific Aerospace, accompanied by chief executive Damian Camp.
The Royals visit Waikato
Kate speaks with a young girl in Cambridge.
The Royals visit Waikato
The royal couple are presented with a new bike for Prince George at the Avantidrome.
Royal visit to Rainbow Palace
Lady Perdita and Georgia Stanwix wait eagerly for the royals.
Royal visit to Rainbow Palace
Some of the large crowd waiting in Cambridge for Wills and Kate.
Royal visit to Rainbow Palace
The prince moves in for the personal touch.

Tens of thousands are likely to throng the streets today looking for that perfect vantage point - or better still that special personal encounter with either William or Kate.

The first to arrive was Hamilton's Cathy Bazley - so keen to catch a glimpse of the royals she arrived at the town hall at midday yesterday, and camped overnight under a marquee wrapped in six layers of clothing.

The 63-year-old said it was genealogical links that drew her.

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Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrives at Whenuapai Airbase to meet families.
Royal tour
Prince William meets with RNZAF staff and their families this morning.
Royal tour
Auckland mayor Len Brown waits for his chance to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they arrive at Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland.
Royal tour in Auckland
The crowd was building at Auckland's Viaduct this morning as people sought to get a look at Wills and Kate.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William talks with a girl about her broken arm as he meets family of RNZAF staff.
Royal tour in Auckland
The Duchess of Cambridge meets RNZAF families at Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland.
Royal tour in Auckland
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave Whenuapai Air Base on a mission - a yacht race on the Hauraki Gulf.
Prince Charles
Meanwhile, back in Britain, Wills' father Prince Charles was today hosting the Royal Society for Commonwealth High Commisioners at St James's Palace.
Royal tour in Auckland
A crowd of royal fans gathered at the exit of Whenuapai Air Base to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Royal tour in Auckland
People stake their claim kerbside outside Whenuapai Air Base.
Royal tour in Auckland
The royal couple head for Auckland's Viaduct Basin where they were due to race Team New Zealand yachts.
Royal tour in Auckland
Royal fans fly the flag outside Whenuapai Air Base.
Royal tour in Auckland
The royal motorcade leaves Whenuapai Air Base headed for central Auckland.
Royal tour of Auckland
Rain continued to fall on the royal tour this morning as the Duke and Duchess met with their Team New Zealand sailing crews.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William and wife Kate walk to a hangar at Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland after meeting mayor Len Brown and his wife Shan Inglis.
Royal tour in Auckland
There were Union Jacks galore in central Auckland as royal fans turned out to meet Wills and Kate.
Royal tour in Auckland
Crowds packed into Auckland's Wynyard Quarter to cheer on Wills and Kate as they arrived in a motorcade.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William accepts a gift from six-year-old Maia Hunt at Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland.
Royal tour in Auckland
The Imagine was a luxurious staging point for the royal race.
Royal tour in Auckland
Fans flocked to the waterfront to cheer on the royals.
Royal tour in Auckland
Not everyone's happy with the royal tour. This one protestor took to the skies to express his view.
Royal tour in Auckland
Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker and boss Grant Dalton meet William and Kate on the luxury yacht Imagine.
Royal tour in Auckland
Earlier in the day the Duchess of Cambridge was greeted at Auckland's Viaduct Basin by cheering fans.
Royal tour of Auckland
Dean Barker offers the Duchess of Cambridge some sailing tips.
Royal tour in Auckland
Royal fans take a breather from the mayhem on Auckland's waterfront as Prince William and Kate arrive.
Royal tour in Auckland
Kate's crew appeared relaxed before the royal race in Auckland.
Royal tour in Auckland
With a race to win it was all hands on deck aboard Kate's yacht.
Royal tour in Auckland
The Duchess of Cambridge kept her cool at the helm.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William was eager to win.
Royal tour in Auckland
The race was on.
Royal tour in Auckland
Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker gets that winning feeling as Kate steers his yacht to a win over husband Prince William.
Royal tour in Auckland
There was plenty of post-race banter between the boat crews with Dean Barker chuffed with the win and Kate hardly believing her luck.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William steers through some Waitemata Harbour chop.
Royal tour in Auckland
Kate celebrates her win over husband Prince William in their Team New Zealand yacht race on the Waitemata Harbour.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William reportedly claimed "sabotage" after losing 2-0 to Kate in the yacht race.
Royal tour in Auckland
After the race, Kate made an impromptu stop at Hobsonville Marina to meet some fans.
Royal tour in Auckland
Prince William also enjoyed meeting with royal fans at Hobsonville Marina.
Royal tour in Auckland
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received a mini-Sealegs amphibious craft as a gift for their son George.
Royal tour in Auckland
They then climbed aboard a full size one for a trip up to Auckland's West Harbour.

Bazley, a former midwife, said her family had royal connections going back to the 11th century and she had seen strong similarities between her children and Prince William and his son, Prince George. "I might just go and see what they're like in person. I've always wanted to".

Managing preparations for an official royal visit sounds like a gargantuan challenge that would have most people tearing their hair out, yet Wayne Green seems to be having the time of his life.

The Waipa District Council community relationships manager was happy in his work yesterday, as he and his colleagues were getting ready for the town's two special guests.

How many visitors to prepare for was the big question.

"We were tentatively told there would be around 5000 to 15,000 people. The other day we were watching the news on TV3 and they came up with the figure of 50,000. Who knows how many we'll get on the day," he said.

Two big-screen television screens are being installed to give those unable to get up close and personal with the royal couple a better view of them.

A special stage was also being set up for the 80 accredited media representatives, near the cenotaph where William and Kate will lay a wreath, accompanied by French ambassador Laurent Contini.

The royal couple will certainly feel at home when they arrive in the town that bears their title. Thousands of Union Jack flags and banners adorn every street in the Cambridge town centre.

The interior and window display areas of Colonial Heritage Antiques were a sea of flags that the royal couple will have a hard time missing.

The royal motorcade is to pass right by the store on its way to the town hall engagement and owners Ken and Beverley Sheldrick will have a prime view.

"We'll certainly be able to get a glimpse," Ken said. "Who knows? Their car might break down right outside and we'll get a whole lot more than that."

It's not just central Cambridge that has been caught in the grip of royal fever. In the Avanti Velodrome they were rolling out the red carpet when the Waikato Times arrived last night.

Home of Cycling chief executive Geoff Balme was taking the frantic preparations in the brand new facility in his stride.

Balme is a veteran of numerous Olympic campaigns, where he has worked as a volunteer, so hosting a visit by the future king and queen of England and 2000 others was not an insurmountable challenge.

The duke would officially open the $28.5 million facility at the event.

"It's going to be a three-hour cycling extravaganza. William and Kate are going to be a small but very important part of the overall day. It will be something special."

Meanwhile, the fun had already started last night at Rainbow Place in Hamilton, which has been transformed into a magical wonderland of entertainment that was last night being given a trial run by the children of Hospice Waikato's staff.

Chief executive Craig Tamblyn said all that remained was for the weather to play its part today.

"And will the sun shine on us? Of course it will."

Waikato Times