Day one of the royal tour was overwhelmingly wonderful. The brief appearance at Sydney airport was followed by magical, sure-to-be iconic arrival at Wellington Airport and a “cheeky” Ceremonial Welcome at Government House. Catch up on Day 1 in New Zealand here.
Yesterday was a day of rest and relaxation for the Cambridges, but today is a day of great excitement with Prince George’s first official engagement with Plunket New Zealand.
After a gruelling 25-hour flight to Sydney followed by a 3-hour, tumultuous flight to Wellington, the Cambridges spent April 8 resting and recuperating privately. Despite Kate’s stunning appearance, George’s rosy cheeks, and William’s chipper smile, the family was undoubtedly exhausted.
Wharekauhau Lodge, near Wellington
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George spent the day at Wharekauhau Lodge, a luxury lodge near Wellington. It is likely the family stayed in a more private cottage to enjoy the scenic views, quiet natural atmosphere, and luxurious king-sized beds.
A private cottage at Wharekauhau Lodge
The resort-style location boasts an indoor pool, extensive spa menu, and stunning vistas. Even with other guests at the location (although we would not be surprised to learn the whole resort was rented for the Cambridges), the Wharekauhau Lodge is the perfect place to escape and recenter in preparation for the next two weeks.
Plunket Play Group
Today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George will attend a play group with the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society. Plunket, as it is commonly called, provides support, for the development, well-being and health for children under five. They work closely with new parents and their children in the early years. The proud New Zealand institution has been in service for over 100 years.
The event was scheduled to begin around 3PM local time, and the Cambridges arrived early! They were seen entering the gates of Government House shortly after 1PM. Kate was wearing her MaxMara wrap dress, but it was expected that she would change before the main event.
George is the real star of the show today! This was his first official event as a Prince and future King of England. He joined ten other children who are the same age – 6 girls, 4 boys – and their parents for an informal play group session. These play groups are one of the many services offered by the Plunket organization. According to their website:
“Children get valuable educational and social experiences and parents get to meet and make new friends and share experiences. There are more than 180 Plunket playgroups throughout the country so they can be found in many communities. Most groups meet weekly and some fortnightly.”
The play date began just after 3PM local time, much to the excitement of royal watchers. The play date lasted a little over an hour, with plenty of interaction between babies and parents.
Prince George was eager to crawl, wiggle and play with his peers and enjoy the colorful toys available to him. The children were encouraged to interact and play. This was his first experience with a large group, but he was very well behaved throughout! His good behavior could be attributed to recent growth developments – he is sleeping through the night and eating solid foods!
There were a few baby mishaps during the event. One occured with
his girlfriend a girl named Paige. George took Paige’s toy, and crying ensued. A similar event happened with baby Eden, whose headband was accidentally knocked off. These are such natural occurrences with little ones, but make for great stories!
Prince George even received his own Plunket bear, a tradition of the Plunket organization. The blue bear is nearly bigger than Cheeks himself, but George seemed eager nonetheless. The bear is your gift for donating $10 to the Plunket organization, available here.
Kate wore a gorgeous new dress from Tory Burch – the Paulina dress. The knee length dress boasts a fitted waist, pleats, and “tactile fringing” on the sleeves and hem. The dress was from the Resort 2014 collection and was heavily discounted at many sites, including at Nordstrom, where the price plummeted to a mere $150 from an original $450. The piece was quickly IDed by WKW fan Elizabeth.
Royal aides stated that the black-and-white color scheme was chosen specifically to honor New Zealand – their national colors are black and white (which is VERY chic right now)! Kate accessorized with her Cartier “Ballon de Bleu” watch Anoushka pearl drop earrings.
Prince George wore an adorable outfit from Rachel Riley – a designer quickly becoming his favorite! He previously wore a Rachel Riley sweater upon arrival in Sydney. Today, the young prince (also known as Cheeks) wore the “Sailboat Smocked Dungarees,” which cost $129. This piece was expertly IDed by HRH Prince George Pieces on their Twitter.