Young royals have landed in New Zealand

(USA TODAY) Prince William and Duchess Kate, clutching baby Prince George, have arrived in wet and windy Wellington, New Zealand, today to start their three-week royal tour of Down Under.

It was Monday around noon in New Zealand, about 8 p.m. Sunday in the USA's Eastern time zone.

They are headed first to the traditional and colorful Maori welcoming ceremony at Government House in Wellington, the capital.

They arrived on a New Zealand Air Force jet they transferred to in Sydney, after a 25-hour journey on a commercial flight from London.

They were met at the airport by dignitaries and hundreds of reporters from Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand, tweeted a welcome.

She had changed clothes on the three-hour Sydney-to-Wellington flight, and was wearing a scarlet Catherine Walker coat with a matching ring-shaped hat by Gina Foster, and a silver and platinum brooch loaned by the queen, according to a tweet by Richard Palmer, royal correspondent for the Express in London.

So far, Kate is not leaving George to the nanny; when they changed planes in Sydney, she was holding him, and she was holding him when they came down the jet stairs in Wellington. Just 8 months old and on his first official royal tour of what is likely to be a lifetime of tours, George also had changed clothes, from a dark onesie to a creamy white sweater.

The royal trio, plus a staff of 11, including George's new nanny and a hairdresser for her, are spending the next 10 days in New Zealand, then moving on for another 10 days in Australia.

Will and Kate have a schedule of more than two dozen engagements — visiting earthquake victims and children's hospices, yacht racing and white-water rides, hiking in the Outback, visiting the zoo and museums, taking tea and attending receptions.

The royal baby is expected to make at least one, possibly two, public appearances during the eagerly anticipated tour. The couple also built in three free days to spend time with the baby.

High hopes for a repeat of William's 1983 "crawlabout" on the lawn of Government House, when he was about 9 months old and traveled Down Under with his parents,Prince Charles and Princess Diana, might be held up, at least for today, thanks to the dreary weather, judging from the pictures.

Their schedule calls for a day off Tuesday. On Wednesday, they're meeting young mothers and babies at a parents group at Government House, where George may put in an appearance.


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