Christchurch: Prince William arrived in
earthquake-devastated Christchurch on Thursday, the first stop on a
tour of disaster-stricken areas of New Zealand and Australia.
The Prince, who is travelling without his bride-to-be
Kate Middleton, was met by a crowd of about 100 when he
touched down in New Zealand`s second largest city about
12:20pm (0450 IST Thursday).
`He immediately departed for a tour of Christchurch`s
"red zone", the area worst-hit in last month`s 6.3-magnitude
quake, which killed an estimated 180 people and reduced
swathes of the city to rubble.
Later today, the 28-year-old will visit Greymouth, on
the South Island`s rugged West Coast, where 29 miners died
late last year when a gas explosion tore through the Pike
He will represent Queen Elizabeth II at a national
memorial for earthquake victims in Christchurch on Friday
before departing for Australia on Saturday morning.
While there, he will visit areas of Queensland and
Victoria damaged in recent floods and cyclones.
He is travelling without Middleton, whom he will marry
on April 29, because his visit is classed as an official royal
St James` Palace has said the trip was a way for the
royals "to show their solidarity with the people of New
Zealand and Australia".
Queen Elizabeth II is the official head of state of
New Zealand and Australia, which are both former British
colonies and members of the Commonwealth.