Prince William and Kate Middleton left baby Prince George in the safe care of his nanny in Wellington, New Zealand as they set off to attend their first joint engagement outside of the Kiwi capital.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who started their three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand on Monday, have so far been carrying out their royal duties in Wellington, but Thursday morning saw the couple fly the fifteen minutes to Blenheim for a very special event.
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Excitement was at fever pitch in Blenheim as crowds gathered to welcome their distinguished guests. Some had been waiting from as early as 4:30am to secure the best spot from which they would spot William and Kate. The light drizzle hadn’t stopped other locals from camping out, who instead saw it as an opportunity to whip out their British-flag themed umbrellas.
As many as 7,000 people were expected to flock to Seymour Square for the visit, and hundreds were seen waving British flags. Two young girls had especially baked a cake decorated with the Union Jack for the royals.
As William, 31, and Kate, 32, arrived at the town’s war memorial to attend the wreath-laying ceremony, residents cheered and looked delighted. The event was to remember those who had died in all wars, and to particularly commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the First World War, which falls in July of this year.
Wearing a smart blue Alexander McQueen coat dress, Kate looked stunning as she walked up the red carpet that had been rolled out to the towering memorial. In contrast to her usual hairdo, the Duchess had scooped her brunette locks into an elegant ponytail, which showed off her beautiful diamond and sapphire drop earrings.
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William, meanwhile, looked dapper wearing a dark suit, maroon and navy tie and medals pinned to his chest. He and Kate were handed a wreath and together they walked up and placed it at the foot of the memorial. They later joined the other attendees to observe the few minutes silence and listen to the band that played.
While the Duke and Duchess were the guests of honour at the commemoration, about 100 veterans from the Second World War and more recent conflicts also played a starring role at the event. They were pictured sitting by the memorial, alongside various senior New Zealand politicians.
William and Kate looked delighted to meet some of those who had fought for their countries, and at the end of the ceremony, they had time to talk to the veterans and listened attentively to their anecdotes.
George arrives for his first royal engagement
As the Duke and Duchess left the war memorial, they smiled and waved to the crowds around them, who eagerly held out their phones and cameras to try and get snaps of the royal couple.
William and Kate walked around the area, chatting to locals and showing great appreciation for those holding up flags and signs that bore the royal couple’s photo. The mother-of-one proved quite popular with the locals as she was handed beautiful bouquets of flowers and bent down to talk to children.
The Duke and Duchess couldn’t stop for long though as they headed straight for their second engagement of the morning at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, just a short distance away.