Prince George embarks on first foreign tour

A happy family portrait taken by Jason Bell, who photographed Prince George's christening Photo: Jason Bell/Camera Press

Prince George of Cambridge, eight months old and third in line to the throne, is beginning a lifetime of royal tours with the longest one of them all: an 11,700 mile journey to the other side of the world.

When George is carried off a New Zealand Air Force flight in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday morning he will have been travelling for the best part of 30 hours, arriving in a time zone 11 hours ahead of Britain. Jet lag starts young in the House of Windsor.

There is, of course, precedent. George's father, Prince William, was here exactly 31 years ago, being presented to the cameras, as George will on Wednesday, at Wellington's Government House.

That tour by Charles and Diana started in Australia and lasted for six weeks. This time William and Kate will spend three weeks down under, with the Australian leg coming second. By today's standards, it is still a very lengthy visit.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles pose with a young Prince William in Auckland, New Zealand Credit: PA

The Kiwis and and Aussies will, of course, be wowed by it all, as they were back in 1983. There are widespread republican sentiments in both countries - New Zealand's rather less vocal than their neighbour's - but voices raised against the crown are drowned out by the frenzy such tours generate.

William and Kate, even without George in tow, have established themselves as a stellar double act for the media, just as Charles and Diana were all those years ago. But while William cheerfully accepts the fact that the cameras point mainly at Kate, his father was even then uncomfortable with the attention afforded to his wife.

When Charles and Diana posed with the toddler William on the lawn at Government House, ITN's royal correspondent of the day declared: "The loving look said a lot about this family."

But we now know that resentment was already starting to build and it was not long before the loving family began to enter much stormier waters.

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