Prince George is star attraction as first royal tour begins in New Zealand
Published Monday, April 7, 2014 10:45AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 7, 2014 11:37AM EDT
Prince William and his wife Catherine have arrived in Wellington along with their baby Prince George for a three-week visit to New Zealand and Australia -- their first official overseas visit as a family.
As the family arrived, it was eight-month-old George that had many fellow royal lovers excited, royal commentator Victoria Arbiter says.
"It's just lovely to have a first public look at him," she told CTV's Canada AM.
"We haven't seen him on film in any official capacity since his christening in October, which is a long time. Even in the photograph they released just before the tour, we only saw him in profile."
Much like Diana did when she brought William to New Zealand years ago in 1983, Catherine appears to be taking a hands-on approach with George, insisting on carrying her son herself off the plane rather than pass him on to the nanny who is travelling with them.
"We saw Kate carrying him off the plane, which we haven't seen done by a Royal before, so they're very eager to present their visit as a tight family unit," she said.
Fellow royal commentator Richard Berthelsen says William and Catherine have essentially arranged the tour around their young son. During William's 1983 trip Down Under with his parents, Diana and Prince Charles often left their son with a nanny for several days at a time. But this visit has been arranged to ensure William and Catherine see their son every night except two.
"The tour has been organized around him in the sense that they are going to be staying in very central locations and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, are going to be going out and back, to be able to be with him every night. It's just like a young family would want to do," Berthelsen said.
"So we're seeing a much more hands-on royal family and a family that is going to stay together as a stronger family unit on this tour."
While the family is now resting after their 30-hour journey Down Under, George will join his parents for his first official engagement Tuesday during an informal event at Government House, where the royal couple will meet with 10 New Zealand families, who each have babies born within a week of George.
"So this is potentially his first play group experience," says Arbiter.
As the tour progresses, William and Catherine plan to balance out their more serious official engagements, such as meeting victims of the Christchurch earthquake, with more informal events such as meeting with "The Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson and enjoying a few sporting events of their own.
"William and Kate are incredibly competitive, so they are going to take to individual Team New Zealand America's Cup yachts and have a race around Auckland Harbour," says Arbiter.
"You'll remember In Canada they raced dragon boats and William won, so I think Kate is going to be keen to make sure she ties this."