PRINCE William dropped a broad hint on his New Zealand tour yesterday that it will not be long before he and wife Kate have another baby.
By: Phil Dampier
Chatting to Cynthia Read, who knitted a shawl for Prince George, he told her: “You might have to make another soon!”
Cynthia, 61, said afterwards: “The way William said it was like he was dropping a hint, letting me in on a secret.”
Asked if she thought he meant a brother or sister for George, she coyly replied: “Maybe. I couldn’t possibly comment. Obviously if I am asked to make another one I would be honoured but let’s wait and see.”
Only last month, on a visit to the Irish Guards in Aldershot, the Prince told Sergeant Major Ray Collister, who asked him if there would be a new arrival soon: “One’s enough for the moment. Maybe one day when there’s time.”
Friends of Kate have said in the past that she would like two more children, as she comes from a family of three.
Cynthia, who emigrated from Newcastle eight years ago, was asked to make the shawl by the New Zealand government and spent four months spinning it from Merino wool. Merino sheep are regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep.
She added: “They said they had brought it and loved how soft it was but apologised that there had not been an opportunity for George to wear it.”
The white shawl, featuring intermingled fern leaves, was designed by South Islander Margaret Stove, who had also made a shawl for William when he was a baby.
Arriving in Cambridge, the royal couple were greeted by cheering crowds in a town named not after their son but another Prince George, the second Duke of Cambridge and a cousin of Queen Victoria.
A large part of the town’s 18,000-strong population turned out to welcome them. William and Kate paid tribute to Kiwi troops who liberated the French town of Le Quesnoy at the end of the First World War, placing red roses at the town’s war memorial.
Earlier William used his only solo outing of the tour to indulge his passion for aircraft. He went to Pacific Aerospace in Hamilton, where he revealed that he no longer flies as much as he would like but that there is still plenty of “healthy rivalry” between him and his brother Prince Harry when it comes to the cockpit. The Duke was presented with a miniature rugby ball for Prince George as well as shirts representing the town’s rugby team for himself and Kate.
Pacific’s chief executive, Damian Camp, said: “He talked about how George has settled into a nice routine and how he is keeping mum and dad on their toes. He said George has got to the stage where he is interacting now and keeping them busy.”
Meanwhile Kate, wearing a jade green fitted coat by Erdem over a dress by Suzannah (both London-based designers) made an emotional visit to the Rainbow Place children’s hospice in Hamilton, which helps youngsters with life-limiting illnesses as well as those coping with terminally ill parents.
She met six-year-old Bailey Rupe, who showed her how she uses hand puppets to explain how she felt about her mother’s terminal breast cancer.
The Duchess, calling her “a brave little girl”, sat at a tea party table with Bailey and asked: “Are you having tea? Can I sit with you? How is Mummy?”
Bailey said afterwards: “I was excited to meet a real princess and it made me feel like a princess for the day, too.”
As Kate was leaving, she was handed a posy of cream flowers by Kaiya Miller, six, who has cystic fibrosis. “I thought the Duchess would have smiley eyes,” said Kaiya, “and she did.”
Kate was rather taken aback by an eye-catching depiction of her holding her newborn son when they left hospital. The ornament was shown to her by devoted royalist Pam McCaroll, 74, who has a collection of more than 1,000 items of royal memorabilia. Mrs McCaroll had waited more than five hours to see the Duchess.
The Duke and Duchess opened a velodrome in Hamilton, where they received a miniature pushbike, complete with a personalised cycling top and helmet, for their eight-month-old son. Rower Hamish Bond, 28, an Olympic gold medallist, said after meeting the couple: “William said he remembered watching us win the race at the Olympics.”
In addition to the tiny bike and rugby shirts, the royal pair will also be taking home a stunning portrait of Kate by Australian artist David Wells. Kensington Palace officials had told David, from Macleay Island, Queensland, that they could not accept his gift personally on the tour but having been shown a photo of it, they decided to accept it after all.
“I am not sure how it feels yet, it hasn’t sunk in,” said David. The portrait took him 300 hours to paint after he spent months researching photos on the internet. “It is an honour that they are going to take it home,” he added.
Early today about 300 people greeted the royal couple – many waving Union flags – as they landed at Dunedin airport. Kate hugged and rubbed noses with a young girl in a traditional Maori greeting called a hongi after getting off the plane.