Camilla hongis, talks up NZ for Will and Kate

Last updated 11:02 07/02/2014
Camilla
Reuters

CELEBRATING: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall hongis Esther Kerr Jessop, founding member of the Ngati Ranana London Maori Club, as they celebrate Waitangi Day at New Zealand House in London.

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Prince William and his wife Kate are bound to have a great experience when they travel Down Under later this year, according to the Duchess of Cornwall.

Camilla, who travelled to Australia and New Zealand for the first time in late 2012 with Prince Charles, on Thursday  (local time) said while she'd wanted to visit sooner "aeroplanes aren't my favourite thing".

But, the Duchess told a Waitangi Day event at New Zealand's high commission in London, she was glad she eventually made the journey because people had been "so warm and lovely".

"I can't wait to go back again," she told a lunch hosted by the New Zealand Women's Association.

"This April, William and Catherine are going, so I'm sure they'll have a great experience."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and, most likely, baby Prince George, will tour Australia and New Zealand for three-and-a-half-weeks.

Camilla on Thursday (local time) performed the famous hongi greeting - when noses are pressed together - with Esther Jessop, one of New Zealand's most prominent cultural figures in the UK.

She also helped New Zealand artist Mandii Pope with a painting of Clarence House, daubing dark streaks to create some windows on one of the famous building's ground floor rooms.

Singer Hayley Westenra was one of a number of celebrities at the reception, celebrating the contribution of Kiwi women living and working in the UK.

The classical artist, who has previously sung for various members of the royal family, chatted briefly with Camilla about her 2012 trip.

Westenra believes New Zealand's younger generations overwhelmingly support the royal family.

"During the Christchurch earthquake, Prince William came out to support the people of Christchurch and his presence was so appreciated by everyone," she said.

"People feel a strong connection with the royal family."

The 26-year-old expects Kiwis will want to catch a glimpse of Prince George in April.

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