ABC News’ Cecilia Vega, Carolyn Durand and Scott Shulman report:
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – With the sun finally peeking out of overcast skies, this tiny town of 28,000 residents will host the royal couple’s first walkabout. Children and adults have been lining up since early this morning to catch a glimpse of the couple. Officials expect nearly a third of the town to give a rousing Kiwi welcome to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince William likely will see Blenheim’s tribute to his mother. The Princess of Wales Memorial Bench is located centrally in Seymour Square.
“One of the things that William and Kate want to do on this tour is to meet as many members of the public as possible. Many ordinary members of the public. They don’t want to be stuck in grand houses wearing fancy outfits. Wearing tiaras. They want to mingle with the ordinary New Zealand and Australian people,” royal biographer Victoria Murphy told ABC News.
Prince William and Princess Kate will also get a personalized tour of the Omaka Heritage Aviation Center and its collection of World War I planes on the centennial anniversary of the war by New Zealand’s most-famous son, “Hobbit” director Peter Jackson.
“There’s always a huge interest in William and Kate as a couple,” Murphy said. “People are fascinated by them. People are fascinated by Kate, she’s glamorous, she’s gorgeous. She has the story. She’s come from a middle-class family to become the future queen of England.”
William and Kate head back to a state reception tonight with the prime minister at Government House. The duchess will surely be looking stunning and likely adorned with jewels on loan from grandmother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II. Prince William will give a short speech before unveiling a portrait of his grandmother.
The duke and duchess have arranged the tour with stops from three principal destinations so they can spend as much time with their growing son as possible.
William admitted Tuesday that he relishes daddy duty, something normal fathers do all around the world but not necessarily future kings. He prepares Prince George’s nightly bottle and puts him to sleep
“William and Kate are trying as much as possible to give Prince George a normal upbringing,” ABC News royal contributor and Daily Mirror Editor Victoria Murphy said.
William and Kate Tuesday chose to expose Baby George on the Royal crawlabout to other children his own age for his first official engagement, something unthinkable 30 years ago when William was here as a baby. But times have changed. And so too has the monarchy, especially with this young couple.
They’ve proven to New Zealanders that the royal trio is truly the family of the people: popular, relevant, at ease with their subjects. Proving this new generation of Windsors is truly modern with a new attitude about royal life. And the New Zealand people love them for it.