If royal visits are judged by the size of the welcoming crowds, positive headlines and the number of gifts received, then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour of New Zealand has been a resounding success.
Wherever Prince William and Kate have visited Kiwis have shown their affection by screaming, handing over presents and waiting for hours to shake the hands of their visitors.
Arguably the star of the tour has been their eight-month-old son Prince George whose appearance at a playgroup in Wellington left New Zealanders in raptures.
The prince’s antics crawling, playing with toys and tugging on his mother’s hair showed the future king was in many ways just like any other baby – albeit growing up in front of the world’s media.
George’s face has graced news stands across New Zealand with papers and magazines giving front page coverage to the future king.
Woman’s Day magazine dubbed him “His Royal Cuteness” on its front cover, which also featured images of the duchess under the headline “Our Queen of Hearts”.
New Idea also made the royal mother and son their cover story, and summed up their impact with the headlines “Kate and Prince George Take New Zealand by Storm” and “Prince of our hearts”.
This response was echoed by New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, which had the cover story headline “Sweet George: How the royals have won our hearts”.
William made a similar impact on New Zealand in 1983 when, aged nine months, he crawled across a rug on the lawns of Government House in Auckland as his parents the Prince and Princess of Wales watched.
On Tuesday, the duke and duchess are enjoying a private rest day as a family before the final day of their New Zealand trip on Wednesday.
George has only been seen twice during the first leg of William and Kate’s 19-day tour of New Zealand and Australia – in his mother’s arms on the tarmac at Wellington Airport and crawling around at the playgroup, so the couple’s arrival in Sydney on Wednesday will be eagerly anticipated.
During their last day in New Zealand, the royal couple will visit the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua to acknowledge the sacrifice of 29 officers in the New Zealand Police who have been killed on duty, and watch a policing and dog handling demonstration.
In the New Zealand capital, the duke and duchess will go on a walkabout before flying to Sydney.