Playgroup crawl-about marks Prince George's first royal engagement
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, April 9, 2014 8:20AM EDT
Prince George kicked off a lifetime of royal service with a crawl-about at a New Zealand playgroup Wednesday, marking his first official engagement as the third in line to the British throne.
Described alternately as “a lovely little boy” and a bit of a “bruiser,” George wasted little time ensuring the other babies knew who exactly who their future king is by stealing their toys and planting himself at the centre of the playgroup circle.
The number of reporters allowed into the event at Government House in Wellington was limited. However, video and photographs showed a smiling George playing happily as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chatted with other new parents.
The playdate was organized to allow the young prince to be formally introduced to the world in a less formal setting than his father was 30 years ago. The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, a parent support organization, chose ten families to join the playgroup. All have babies born within a few weeks of George’s birthday of July 22, 2013.
The babies’ parents included a Maori couple, a gay couple and a single mother, all chosen to reflect New Zealand’s diversity, the organization said in a statement.
“We are just so excited to be a part of the visit. Their time in New Zealand is so limited so to get the opportunity to introduce them to Plunket is such an honour,” Plunket New Zealand President Tristine Clark said in the statement.
Before the event, the agency presented George with an oversized blue Plunket bear, which put a big smile on his face. But he later reduced a little girl named Paige to tears, the Daily Express reported, “after grabbing her wooden doll.”
A video report showed George taking a doll from a girl and promptly throwing it on the ground, leaving his mother to pick up after him.
Photographs also showed George grabbing his mother’s hair and shoving it in his mouth. The young prince is teething, with his mother reporting that four teeth have come in so far.
Not to be outdone by his stylish mother, George was smartly dressed in a white T-shirt and navy blue overalls with a sailboat motif on the front. The British press reported that the ensemble came from luxury brand Rachel Riley and retails for about C$130. Catherine was colour-coordinated with her son in a navy and white Tory Burch dress.
Parent Jared Mullen was quoted by the BBC as saying that taking part in the playgroup was “a huge privilege.” His daughter, Isabella, was among the group of babies.
“He is a lovely little boy,” Mullen said of George. “Very intrepid.”
Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter said Wednesday that it will be fun for the parents to show footage of the event to their children one day, who will no doubt be delighted to learn that the future king grabbed a toy from them.
“That’s what was so lovely. Children are a fantastic ice-breaker, but also they were completely oblivious to the environment in which they were,” she told CTV’s Canada AM.
“It was a lovely introduction to a lifetime of royal service for Prince George.”
The event was part of Prince William and Kate’s three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia.