Duchess shows she’s mastered hongi hat trick

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The Duchess of Cornwall embraced Maori traditions when she rubbed noses with her hosts – despite the inconvenience of a wide-brimmed hat.

Camilla found her designer headpiece forced people to duck underneath it to perform the famous greeting known as a hongi.

The Duchess and Prince of Wales arrived in New Zealand late on Saturday evening, local time, and received a brief ceremonial welcome from a guard of honour as they began the final leg of their Diamond Jubilee tour.

Yesterday in the Auckland War Memorial Museum the royal couple were greeted by elders from the city’s main tribe Ngati Whatua in the building’s Hall of Memories where the names of Auckland’s Second World War dead were inscribed.

The shrill sound of a karanga – call of welcome – went up. The call can only be performed by women and the plaintive sound is seen as a connection between the past, present and future.

Songs were sung and speeches made and Charles gave “warmest greetings” in the Maori language.

At the end of the ceremony the Prince performed a hongi with promiment Maori Taiaha Hawke, but Camilla’s black hat by Philip Treacy, which matched her Anthony Price two-piece suit, proved an obstacle.

She hesitated at first when she approached Mr Hawke then gingerly touched noses with him.

At 11am – the moment guns were silenced on November 11, 1918 – a RNZAF Boeing 757 flew overhead signalling the start of a moving Remembrance ceremony.

Under grey skies the royals sat with the New Zealand prime minister John Key, veterans from across the decades, and members of the public around the Auckland Cenotaph.

Charles was the first of the dignitaries to lay a wreath and his floral tribute, left on behalf of the Queen, featured his Prince of Wales feathers, and carried his handwritten message “In grateful and everlasting memory”.

The royal couple later met war veterans before retiring for the rest of the day.