The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been moved by reminders of how horrible Christchurch’s 2011 earthquake was, says the duke.
In a speech to 500 business people at the Air Force Museum at Wigram, Christchurch, Prince William paid tribute to the city’s resilience.
He last visited the shaky city in 2011, three weeks after it was struck by the February 22 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which killed 185 people.
“Christchurch is a city which has chosen not only to survive, but to thrive,” William said.
“Catherine and I have found ourselves moved this morning by the reminders of how awful the second earthquake was.”
He said Christchurch remained a buzzing, thriving city, and life went on with classic Kiwi humour, creativity, innovation and determination.
“The reason why the earthquakes did not defeat Christchurch is because of you.”
The duke and duchess were looking forward to coming back to see how the city took shape, he said.
After lunch – with white chocolate truffles or passionfruit tart for dessert – the royal couple came outside where they met Air Force Museum staff who greeted them in unison with a loud “hello”.
Kate and William wandered along the Wall of Remembrance and each laid a single red rose to pay respects to New Zealand’s fallen airmen.
The couple had some trouble unveiling a new plaque in recognition of RNZAF personnel, but managed it after some toing and froing with the blue velvet curtain.
A knight in shining armour, two members of Alf’s Imperial Army, and others wrapped up in puffer jackets and blankets were among the 500 fans who braved the cold temperatures to glimpse the royals.
But it was too much for one elderly fan who fainted and required paramedic attention while the royals were inside the museum.
Despite their long cold wait, all the fans got was a brief royal wave before Kate and William sped away in their motorcade.