Prince George was the little guest of honour at a special playgroup – his very first public engagement.
It could have been a scene from inside any playdate; but what made this gathering truly exceptional though was that one of the eight-month-old babies crawling around will one day be King.
The little royal was brought along to Government House in Wellington by his mum and dad Prince William and Kate Middleton to meet 10 other families, all with children born around the same time as George.
The Prince looked adorable in a pair of Rachel Riley Smocked Sailboat Dungarees; mum Kate chose a $450 black and white geometric print dress from Tory Burch’s Report ’14 collection, and dad William was casually dressed in a blue shirt and trousers.
According to onlookers, George crawled around with confidence on the blue carpet, which was littered with toys. The Prince, who was described by one guest as “quite a bruiser”, was impeccably behaved, albeit for a minor incident with a little girl called Paige, who he made cry after grabbing for her toy wooden doll.
While the little ones played with toys, the adults had the opportunity to talk about their experiences of first-time parenthood; their shared stories helping to break the ice as local families enjoyed precious moments with William and Kate.
The royal couple proved to be their usual accommodating and amiable selves, immediately putting their fellow parents at ease as they talked to them with interest about their babies.
They also showed themselves to be very hands-on parents, showering their son with attention and playing with him on the floor during the event.
The special playgroup was arranged in honour of Prince George by New Zealand parent support organisation Plunket.
The lucky families chosen to meet the Cambridges were selected to represent the “spread of all communities in New Zealand, including Maoris, Samoans, people of Chines descent and gay couples,” Plunket president Tristine Clarke said.
Among those selected was Kate Bainbridge, 29, and her daughter Sophie, who was born on 11 July.
“I’ve had a few jealous looks from other parents when they found out we were meeting the Duke and Duchess,” Kate said ahead of the event.
“Even though we come from a very different background we have got a lot in common with the Duke and Duchess because we’ve been through the sleepless nights and we can talk to them about our experiences.
“We are all first-time parents, like them, so it should be quite easy to chat to them.”