New Zealanders have been vocal in professing their love of the visiting royals. And Prince George hasn’t been silent, either – particularly at night.
“I hope that George doesn’t keep you up. He’s at his most vocal at 3 a.m., as you may have noticed,” Prince William told his hosts Thursday at a state dinner at the governor general’s residence, where he and wife Kate have been staying with their 8-month-old son.
“I swear I heard him doing the Haka this morning,” William joked to the 200 guests, referring to the aggressive war dance made famous by the country’s All Blacks rugby team before games.
Perhaps that’s fitting, William added. “He’s a bonny lad, and you’ll be pleased to know that he’s currently preparing for life as a [rugby player].”
The governor general, Sir Jerry Mateparae, welcomed the couple in a warm speech before dinner but admitted that “the prestige goes to Prince George … There has been a hubbub of delight from New Zealanders.”
The feeling was mutual. “I cannot tell you how happy I am to be back here in God’s Own Country, as I have learned to call it, and this time with my wife and son,” William said.
Praising the country for its “warm-heartedness, generosity, neighborliness, openness, an instinctive sense of justice and freedom,” William unveiled a new portrait of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, by the young New Zealand artist Nick Cuthel.
Kate, 31, who has been working local fashions into her wardrobe since her arrival, wore a bespoke black Jenny Packham dress which had been hand-stitched with silver beading in a pattern representing New Zealand’s national emblem.