Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Prince William to visit New Zealand and Australia in March

Prince William will visit New Zealand and Australia next week to tour areas devastated by recent natural disasters, St James's Palace has said. On 17th March the Prince will travel go to Greymouth, near the site of the Pike River mine disaster on the South Island of New Zealand in which 29 people died. The following day he will go to Christchurch where more than 150 people died in an earthquake last month. Prince William will give a reading at a National Memorial Service in a Christchurch park on the 18th March, which is expected to be attended by up to 100,000 people, and then carry out other engagements in the area.

On 19th March will arrive in Australia and spend two days visiting a number of areas in Queensland affected by the recent floods and cyclone. On 21st March he will arrive in north-western Victoria to view areas affected by the worst floods in the state’s history.

The Prince will visit the two countries on behalf of the Queen following invitations from Her Majesty’s prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia. "William will be travelling on behalf of the Queen and the wider Royal Family," St James's Palace spokesman said.

The spokesman added: "The Royal Family have been watching the natural disasters with the same shock and sadness as everyone else.

"They wanted to show their solidarity with the people of New Zealand and Australia, and the decision was taken with the prime ministers' offices and the royal household that
Prince William should attend and visit the countries."

Prince William will meet those affected by the recent disasters, and members of the emergency and other support services.

New Zealand
Prime Minister John Key told reporters today that Prince William would speak at the memorial service.

"This is a heart-warming gesture that will mean a lot to the thousands of people whose lives have been forever changed by these events," Mr Key said. "I think all New Zealanders will appreciate the gesture from The Queen to ask Prince William to come down. It's a very important step that he's taking because it shows you the international feeling for Christchurch and Cantabrians."

Premier Ted Baillieu said he was "delighted" Prince William was showing his support to hard-hit communities.

The Royal Family has shown a lot of interest in the terrible damage done to communities and families by the floods and Victorians will be greatly heartened to know of their interest,"’ Mr Baillieu said.

The Prince’s visit will provide immense support and comfort to communities and families stricken by these floods.”

Premier Anna Bligh said the visit would do wonders for the state’s struggling tourism industry.

"I do thank the Prince for his decision to visit Australia," she told state parliament, "I hope that he sends the message back to his friends and colleagues in the UK that Queensland is open for business and that while he’s here he gets an opportunity to see that himself."

The local media
The Age published a rather silly comment by Michael Shmith: Will we still have the will for Will? . What else could be expected?

No comments: