News World Kids and politicians catch royals fever

Kids and politicians catch royals fever

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Truant schoolchildren, excited retirees, ageing war veterans and politicians – everyone seemed star struck by the royals.

Blenheim came out en masse on Thursday and though they didn’t turn on the weather, they did turn on the enthusiasm.

Some wore princess gowns, others donned red, white and blue wigs, and some woke at the crack of dawn to catch a glimpse of the royals.

After laying a wreath to mark 100 years since World War I and meeting war veterans, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge mingled with the crowd.

Princess Kate in Blenheim, New Zealand
Princess Kate in Blenheim, New Zealand

A group of Blenheim parents and children were the first to Seymour Square, arriving at 4.30am, equipped with blankets and a thermos of hot chocolate.

Hundreds of kids took the morning off school – including Georgia Richards and Lilah Bowers, both 10, who gave the duchess a plastic homemade bracelet.

I never get to touch someone famous like that

“She said she really liked them and said `now I’m on trend’,” Lilah said.

Others, like 17-year-old Jesse Eising, were happy just to touch Kate’s hand.

“I never get to touch someone famous like that,” said Jesse, who was wearing his school uniform.

More than 7000 people showed up in the square and all were well behaved, Tasman District police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said.

But no child spent as long with the royals as nine-year-old Tallulah Dabinette, who got to meet Prince William for the second time.

At the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, she presented him with a framed picture of their first meeting in 2005 when she was a seven-month-old baby, while her sister Eloise, seven, handed Kate a homemade bouquet.

Film director Peter Jackson showed the couple around his military plane collection at Omaka, and William apparently shared his enthusiasm.

“It’s perfect. Start her up,” the duke said as he sat in the cockpit of a Sopwith Pup biplane, while Sir Peter played paparazzo, snapping pictures with his iPhone.

The day finished off with a glitzy state reception at Wellington’s Government House where glamorous Kate provoked gasps from MPs and other guests in a slinky black gown embroidered with a silver fern.

The guests dined on canapes and a portrait of the Queen by Wellington artist Nick Cuthell was unveiled.

Prince William received a few laughs after his Maori mispronunciation, but recovered with some heartfelt words about how much he loved New Zealand.

“New Zealand truly is a very special place. On visits like this I’m reminded time and time again of New Zealanders’ affection for the Queen.”