Prince George's first royal tour: 4 things to know
Fan-Yee Suen, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Sunday, April 6, 2014 7:21PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 6, 2014 9:47PM EDT
From royal-struck fans to angry car seat commentators, the hype surrounding Prince George's first official engagement has been gaining momentum since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced their tour of Australia and New Zealand last month.
The Royal Family of three touched down Monday local time in Wellington, New Zealand, where they are kicking off their three-week tour Down Under. They will visit a number of cities, including Auckland, Christchurch and Sydney, before the tour wraps up April 25.
As the tour gets underway, here are four things to know about the royal engagement:
Car seat controversy
He may be just a little over eight months old, but Prince George has already found himself at the centre of his first controversy.
A row over the tiny future king's mode of transport in New Zealand has been brewing since it was revealed his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, requested a front-facing car seat be used for their son.
While front-facing car seats are legal in the island country, Plunket -- New Zealand's largest provider of child support services -- recommends children stay in rear-facing ones until the age of two. The organization, which installed the car seat in the royal vehicle, has been facing a barrage of angry comments since news of the controversial mode of transport came out.
In response, Plunket on Saturday released a statement on its Facebook page, saying they "appreciate' the feedback they've been receiving.
"We are here to provide advice and work in partnership with parents to make informed decisions that work best for them," the statement said.
The organization added that their "priority" is to ensure that car seats are installed by qualified technicians.
This is not the first time royal onlookers have commented on Prince George's car seat. Shortly after the Duchess of Cambridge emerged from St. Mary's Hospital last year with her then-newborn son, eagle-eyed parents commented that the baby prince did not seem to be strapped in his car seat.
Wherever they go, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stir up a lot of media interest and this tour is no different.
From questions about what the Duchess will be wearing, to whether Prince George is teething, coverage of the tour is expected to kick into high gear the second the young Royal Family lands in New Zealand.
According to Dan Wootton, a New Zealand entertainment reporter, media interest will be comparable to that given to a celebrity.
"I think it will be a little like when One Direction was there," he told the New Zealand Herald.
This is not the first time the Duke of Cambridge has set foot in New Zealand and Australia. He first visited the two countries in 1983, when he was nine months old, about the same age as his son. The then-tiny Duke was accompanied by his mother and father, the Prince and Princess of Wales.
The Duke last visited New Zealand in March 2011, shortly after the Christchurch earthquake. This month's tour will be first time his wife will visit New Zealand and Australia.
Down Under embracing the monarchy again?
How the young Royal Family will be embraced in New Zealand and Australia over the next three weeks is seen by some as an indicator of whether or not the monarchy still has any relevance in that part of the world. According to a Telegraph editorial, Australia has so far shown a snuggly relationship to its previous ruler.
"Today’s Australians, it seems, have to like their chains," the article said.
For more details on the tour, visit the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official website.
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