ROYALTY

Royal visit to Australia and New Zealand tailored to fit Prince George

William and Kate set for 'wheel and spoke' itinerary, minimising time without George

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 8:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 8:52pm
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He has, according to his father, a good pair of lungs, and he is travelling long-haul by scheduled flight.

So Britain's Prince George's first official overseas tour at the tender age of nine months may prove challenging, and not just for his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Details of the couple's three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia, show they have adopted a "hub and spoke" approach tailored to travelling with their son.

While George will be based, with a nanny, in Wellington, Sydney and Canberra, his parents will make a series of day trips, spending just two nights away from him during the tour, which runs from April 7 to April 25, starting in Wellington, on New Zealand's North Island, and ending in Canberra, the Australian capital.

George's adventure echoes that of his father, who visited Australia at the same age with the Prince and Princess of Wales 30 years ago, and was a pioneer in this regard.

Prince Charles was left at home regularly with the nanny from the age of one while Princess Elizabeth, as the Queen then was, joined her husband in Malta when Prince Philip was stationed with the Royal Navy. And baby Elizabeth did not see her parents for half a year when they undertook an antipodean tour when she was nine months' old.

"Taking a nine-month-old on a royal tour is not a first, but it has not happened in this royal family's context for many, many years, so there has been much to think about, as any new parents travelling long-distance will recognise," Miguel Head, the duke's private secretary, said.

The Queen granted special permission for the second and third in line to the throne to travel together, as protocol usually dictates separate flights for those in immediate direct line of succession.

The royal party will fly out from and back to London on scheduled flights, with internal flights provided by the air forces of the host countries. In addition to security, the party will comprise two private secretaries, three press officers, a tour secretary, a personal assistant, a hairdresser, an orderly and a nanny.

William, 31, and Kate, 32, decided to take George "because it is a long way to go and a long time, 31/2 weeks including travel," Head said.

Quite how much of the prince the public will see - apart from him getting on and off planes - has yet to be decided.

It is hoped George will be on show for at least one engagement in each country, including, possibly, at a coffee morning for new mothers, fathers and their babies at Government House, Wellington.