NZ Royal visit: Southern charm greets royal couple

CHEERING crowds greeted the royal couple as they arrived at the Octagon for the Palm Sunday service.

The Duchess turned and waved before the couple were greeted at the steps of St Paul's Cathedral by Dean the Very Reverend Dr Trevor James,

Also welcoming them were Ngai Tahu representative Professor John Broughton and Bishop Kelvin Wright.The service is expected to last for about an hour.

Kate was again a crowd favourite in her teal dress.

"Just beautiful, she stood out against everything else,'' said royal-watcher Sue Ashford.

"The depth of colour of it - amazing.''

Mrs Ashford, a British expat, has also seen Prince Charles at the cathedral before but said the crowd was nowhere near as large.

Prince William and Catherine waved to the cheering, flag-waving crowd before ascending the cathedral stairs.

Ample space didn't stop the most dedicated royalists turning up in the southern city at the crack of dawn.

Maniatoto women Elaine Aitken and Jane Faulconer set up camp next to the barriers lining the Octagon at 5am.

"We wanted to make sure we were going to have a really good position,'' said Mrs Faulconer.

The women had picked flowers from their gardens into posies to gift to the royal visitors.

"When I met Diana 31 years ago at the Dunedin airport. I shook her hands three times in one day and she had the most delicate, silky, softest little hand.

"I can remember thinking `I hope I didn't hurt her' and I said to her, `you are so beautiful.' She really was.''

Mrs Aitken said she hoped the new parents weren't missing Prince George too much on the only leg of their New Zealand tour they were staying a night away from their son, who would remain at Government House in Wellington.

Two-year-old Skye McLeary dressed as a princess for the occasion.

Her mother Jinean Sinclair said having the royals in town was special for the region.

Duchess fans were hoping for a tartan outfit as a nod to Dunedin's Scottish roots.

Security was tight in the area, with dozens of police visible on rooftops and in surrounding streets.

Police were chatting and laughing with waiting royal watchers and were even taking photos for them.

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