Britain's Prince Charles reacts as he meets Dori (left), a dwarf character from The Hobbit, played by Mark Hadlow, during his visit to Weta Workshop in Miramar, Wellington. Photo by Reuters
Happy birthday tunes greeted Prince Charles and the Duchess
of Cornwall at every corner - as well as a few marriage
proposals - as they made their way around Wellington today.
People with their pets, children and banners declaring their
love for the pair turned out in droves to greet Prince
Charles and Camilla as they walked around the waterfront
early this afternoon.
After walking almost a kilometre in the sunshine, their Royal
Highnesses made their way to Weta Workshop where they were
shown around by Lord of the Rings and Hobbit director Sir
Peter Jackson and Weta Workshop director Sir Richard Taylor.
Earlier in the day, their visit to Wellington began at
Government House where the pair were welcomed with a powhiri
and a 21-gun salute before opening a new visitors' centre at
Government House, which is New Zealand's Diamond Jubilee gift
to the Queen.
Camilla, dressed in a speckled grey coat, a Valentino slip
dress and Philip Treacy hat, looked visibly apprehensive as a
Maori warrior advanced towards their Royal Highnesses during
a stirring powhiri.
But Prince Charles took it in his stride as he leaned down to
pick up the dart placed at his feet - an indication that he
and Camilla came in peace.
Later in the day, Camilla appeared more at ease when
confronted with a hongi, the traditional Maori greeting.
As the pair made their way around Wellington's waterfront,
the crowds continuously sang out 'happy birthday' to Prince
Charles to mark his 64th birthday.
Many onlookers even practised singing as they waited for at
least an hour to greet the pair.
In the crowd, estimated to be about 10,000 people, was Petra
Simms, 22, who donned a T-shirt saying, "I want to marry
She said she had joined the crowd as she wanted to meet her
Bridget Neylan and Melody Holmes both brought down their
6-month-old boys to be part of the festivities, "so that when
Charles becomes king we can say 'you went to their visit',"
Ms Neylan explained.
For a group of Capital City Preschool children the chance to
present Prince Charles with a happy birthday banner proved
But while they might not have realised exactly who they were
greeting, they did realise they were in the presence of a
"They know there's a prince and a princess," parent Kyla
About 200 people - many of them school children - stood
outside the Miramar buildings hoping to catch a glimpse of
Prince Charles as he was shown around Weta Workshop. They
also sang Happy Birthday as he left the studios.
At Weta Workshop, Charles got a sneak peek behind the scenes
of The Hobbit and watched actor Peter Hambleton, who
plays Gloin, one of 13 dwarves in the yet-to-be released
movie, get his make up done.
When he walked into the make-up room, Charles couldn't have
uttered a more princely phrase when he said, "oh my goodness
Actor Mark Hadlow, who plays the dwarf Dori in the upcoming
film, spent two hours getting into costume and make-up,
including a prosthetic dwarf nose.
Hadlow was completely in character when Prince Charles
entered the room, kneeling down on one knee before the royal.
"I offer myself at the request of Sir Peter Jackson for you
to command as you see fit, your servant Dori," he said.
A beaming Prince Charles was clearly amused by the gesture.
"I can't tell you how grateful I am - the best birthday
present I've had in a long time," he said.
Prince Charles said he appreciated the actor's effort in
getting dressed up for him.
Hadlow jokingly replied he had to dress up or he would "get
beaten by Sir Peter".
The Duchess of Cornwall then met 25 female community leaders,
while Prince Charles met with Prime Minister John Key and
opposition leader David Shearer.
A birthday party to celebrate Prince Charles birthday is now
underway at Government House.
A select group of 64 New Zealanders who share the same
birthday as the Prince of Wales were invited to join in the
The party is being hosted by Governor General Sir Jerry
Mateparae, who is also celebrating his birthday.
- By APNZ and Fairfax