William meets five-year-old royal superfan Tilly on Christchurch walkabout
The Duke of Cambridge concluded his two-day visit to New Zealand by meeting a young superfan of his grandmother, the Queen.
After laying a wreath at the Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, William spent about half an hour meeting members of the public who had turned out to greet him.
Among the cheering crowds was five-year-old Tilly Pearce, from Christchurch, who dreams of one day visiting London to have tea with the Queen.
The youngster, holding a sign which read “Prince William I love your grandmother”, shook hands with the duke and had a short chat with him about her love for the monarch.
Speaking afterwards, Tilly beamed and declared: “It was really exciting.”
“He said it was his grandmother’s birthday last week and she had turned 93,” said Tilly’s mother, Megan Pearce.
Grandmother Kay Mintrom added: “He said he was going to say hello to the Queen from Tilly.
“She’s been saving up all her money so she can go to London to have tea with the Queen. She also has a scrapbook full of photos of her.”
Also eager to meet the royal visitor was local Scout leader Jo Le Gros, who waited for three hours to be able to hand William a Scout scarf to give to the Duchess of Cambridge.
“We know Kate has been involved with Scouts in the UK so we wanted to give her a scarf”, said Ms Le Gros. “When we gave it to the prince, he said ‘My wife will be very jealous that I have one now’. I hope he gives it to her!”
The 49-year-old, who works as a teaching assistant, praised the duke for visiting in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks and said she had seen first-hand how it had affected the local children.
Meanwhile, visitors to Christchurch also turned out to say hello to William.
Elizabeth Mellish and Brittany Tilling, both 23 and on a gap year from the UK, said his visit had provided reassurance for the local community.
“We’ve been to the mosques ourselves so it must just be reassuring for people, and shows other countries care and are standing in solidarity together,” said Ms Mellish.
Valeria and Delson Ferrari, on holiday from Brazil, managed to shake hands with the duke during his walkabout.
“It was so exciting,” said Ms Ferrari, 59. “I don’t want to wash my hands now!”