Christchurch gave Prince William and Kate Middleton the warmest of welcomes as they arrived in the city on the next stop of their royal tour.
Flags and cheering crowds greeted the couple as they alighted from their car outside the Christchurch City Council building, where they were formally welcomed to Christchurch by Mayor Lianne Dalziel and elder members of the Ngai Tahu tribe.
The Duchess of Cambridge made another flawless appearance as she joined her husband William on Worcester Boulevard. The 32-year-old chose a red Luisa Spagnoli suit cinched in at the waist by a black belt — the official colours of the region of Canterbury. She purchased the skirt suit by the Italian designer in Knightsbridge back in 2011 for £495, and first wore it during a visit to St Andrews in March of that year.
It was a poignant tribute to the people of Christchurch. After the city’s devastating February 2011 earthquake, which claimed the lives of 185 people, New Zealanders held a red and black day to show their support and solidarity with Christchurch.
The Duke and Duchess are welcomed to Christchurch #RoyalVisitNZ pic.twitter.com/W8AuBy2oFr
— Governor-General NZ (@GovGeneralNZ) April 13, 2014
Following their official welcome, which included a traditional Maori greeting, the couple were ready to take part in a number of events around Latimer Square.
Their schedule for the day included a visit to the CTV memorial park to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
William in particular feels a strong connection to Christchurch — he visited the town shortly after it was struck by the 6.3 earthquake three years ago and has paid tribute to the people of Christchurch many times.
Mayor Dalziel said of the Duke, “His visit so soon after the earthquake in March 2011 was a special one for Christchurch communities.”
The couple will meet with some of the families of the 115 people who died in the CTV building during the earthquake, and visit the cardboard transitional cathedral in Latimer Square which was built when Christchurch’s distinctive cathedral collapsed.
William and Kate will then watch 28 budding cricketers in action and hear about the development of Hagley Oval, which will host three ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 matches, before heading to the Botanic Gardens to open a new $16.4 million visit centre.
Christchurch is the final stop in the couple’s South Island tour. They will then fly back to Wellington for a quintessential Kiwi dinner with Prime Minister John Key, his wife Bronagh and their teenage son Max, featuring seafood, pavlova and Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.