TOUCHDOWN: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touched down at Wellington International Airport’s military terminal on Monday morning at 12.04pm, the first leg of their 18-day tour of New Zealand and Australia.
Carrying Prince George down the stairs of their Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757, the Duchess wore a scarlet double-breasted Catherine Walker jacket with military-style metal buttons and a matching Gina Foster pillbox hat, her coat pinned with a diamond and platinum fern brooch that had originally been presented as a gift to Queen Elizabeth II by the women of Auckland during the Queen’s 1952-1953 tour of the country. The silver fern is a New Zealand national emblem.
The royal party was met by a welcome delegation that included New Zealand prime minister John Key, his wife Bronagh Key, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and the New Zealand Governor General’s aide de camp Commander Richard Walker.
A limousine then ferried the Cambridges to a reception at Government House, where they were greeted by a traditional Maori welcome ceremony called a Powhiri and a 21-gun salute before conducting an inspection of the guard with Governor General Jerry Matepae and his wife Lady Janine.
The Cambridges arrived in New Zealand via a brief stopover at Sydney International Airport just before 6.00am Monday. While changing planes there, the Duchess was photographed wearing a grey printed jersey wrap dress that looked identical to a MaxMara Studio dress she wore to an engagement at London’s Hope House in February 2013.
William was seen to be carrying a plush kangaroo backpack, which was widely reported to have been a gift from the Australian Koala Foundation to Prince George — prompting a rush on the Foundation’s e-store savethekoalashop.com, which updated its Web site noting the item had “sold out in most stores.”
The foundation told WWD that it did not send Made in China backpack, which retails for 14.95 Australian dollars, or $13.89 at current exchange, as a gift to Prince George – and had no idea who did.
“We’re the Australian Koala Foundation, we would have sent a koala,” said the foundation’s chief executive officer Deborah Tabart, adding that nearly 100 kangaroo backpacks had been sold from their Web store alone in a matter of hours.
April 8 is scheduled as a day of rest. The Cambridges will resume the tour in Wellington on April 9 with another reception at Government House, during which they will meet local mothers and babies.