Baby Prince George heading to Australia, New Zealand

Prince William (left) and his wife Catherine will take their baby son Prince George with them on their tour of Australia and New Zealand next month, Kensington Palace confirmed on Mar 2, 2014.-- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Prince William (left) and his wife Catherine will take their baby son Prince George with them on their tour of Australia and New Zealand next month, Kensington Palace confirmed on Mar 2, 2014.-- FILE PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Prince William and his wife Catherine will take their baby son Prince George with them on their tour of Australia and New Zealand next month, Kensington Palace confirmed on Sunday.

The little prince will travel with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge around New Zealand from April 7 to 16, and then Australia from April 16 to 25.

Prince George - who is directly in line to become king of Australia and of New Zealand after his father William and grandfather Prince Charles - was born on July 22 last year. He has rarely been seen in public since.

It had previously been announced only that the royal couple were hoping to bring baby George with them for what will be his first royal tour.

They are planning on taking him along to a few specific engagements throughout the trip, their Kensington Palace official residence in London said as they gave out details of the tour - though final decisions might well be taken on the day.

"There is no hiding the enthusiasm for this visit by both the duke and the duchess," the prince's private secretary Miguel Head told reporters.

Though Prince William has toured both countries several times, the duchess has never been to either.

"Taking a nine-month-old on a royal tour is not a first'', but hasn't happened for a long time, said Mr Head. "So there has been much to think about - as any new parent travelling long distance will recognise."

Prince William was nine months old when he made his first trip to Australia and New Zealand. Prince Charles and his first wife Diana took him on their tour in March and April 1983.

In New Zealand, the royal couple will start their visit in Wellington, before travelling to Blenheim, Auckland, Hamilton, Cambridge, Dunedin, Queenstown and Christchurch. In Australia, their tour begins in Sydney and will then take in the Blue Mountains, Brisbane, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Adelaide and Canberra.

Specific events on the tour will celebrate Australia's and New Zealand's achievements in the fields of technology, tourism, sports and the creative arts.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the tour will also recognise the sacrifices of Australian and New Zealand troops.

Their 11-person entourage will include a hairdresser and a nanny. They will fly to and from London on scheduled flights.

Prince George's first engagement appearance could be on April 9 at Government House in Wellington, at a reception with new mothers and their toddlers.

While in New Zealand, they will brave the Shotover Jet - a high-speed white-water thrill ride down a river canyon.

The tours are at the invite of the Canberra and Wellington governments.

The royal couple were treated like celebrities when they visited Canada months after their wedding in 2011, while in 2012, they toured Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II to mark her 60 years on the throne.

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