Saturday, November 03, 2012

Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall prepare to embark on Southern Hemisphere tour

By Lucy Kinder of The Telegraph

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will begin their 13 day tour of the Southern Hemisphere today to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

The Prince and the Duchess will visit Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand in the latest trip to the Commonwealth by senior royals.

The trip will see the Prince return to Papua New Guinea for the fourth time. He first visited in 1966 aged 17 while studying at Geelong Grammar School in Australia.

But it will be a first visit for the Duchess who also revealed earlier this month that she had never been to Australia.

She made the admission at a St James's Palace reception to mark their tour.

One of the performers at the event, Kylie Minogue, jokingly ticked-off the Duchess, branding her 'naughty' for not visiting Australia before now.

Clarence House has said that the Prince would “renew old friendships and form new ties” during the two-week trip

But the Royal couple may have some trouble landing at their first tour destination as landowners in Papua New Guinea have threatened to shut down the national airport ahead of their visit.

The residents are claiming 4.5 million kina (£1.4 million) in compensation for land they lost when the airport in the capital, Port Moresby, was built.

The Prince and Duchess are due to land in Port Moresby on Saturday night as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. They will tour Port Moresby and the village of Boera, where locals are restoring coastal mangroves.

The Prince and the Duchess will be greeted by traditional sing-sings, in which tribes or villages gather to show off their distinct culture, dance and music, dressing in elaborate costumes and war paint.

They will leave Papua New Guinea on Monday for a six-day visit to Australia where they will tour the outback town of Longreach and the cities of Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney and Canberra.

The royal couple will end their tour in New Zealand, where Prince Charles will celebrate his 64th birthday on November 14 in Wellington.

The Duchess of Cornwall has been taking a break at a holistic Indian retreat before the start of the tour.

She has been staying at the Soukya health centre in Bangalore, an ayurvedic “wellness centre” offering rejuvenation and detoxification programmes.

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