Long-haul journey for baby George

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge begin their tour of New Zealand and Australia with their baby Prince George today.

The Cambridges will travel across the two nations over 19 days celebrating the people, culture and institutions of the Commonwealth countries.

With the eight-month-old Prince joining his parents on the tour, it will echo the Prince and Princess of Wales’s 1983 trip to Australia and New Zealand, when the couple took William, then just nine months, with them.

George will be seen in public at least four times when he embarks and disembarks in the two countries but he is likely to attend a couple of events on the tour, one in each country.

He is expected to join his parents on Wednesday at an event for nurses, parents and young children from an organisation that provides health care and support to new families.

Miguel Head, William’s private secretary, speaking about the royal couple’s decision to bring their baby on tour, has said: “Like any new parents they wanted to ensure that the decision was theirs and it wasn’t driven by any other people’s expectations.

“They have come to the decision because it is a long way to go and for a long time – three and a half weeks including the travel.’’

The Queen has given approval for William and George, two immediate heirs to the throne, to travel together on the trip. They would not have been permitted to fly in the same aircraft without her say so.

Mr Head has said the Cambridges had planned a “hub and spoke” system for their tour, by largely basing themselves in three locations – Wellington, New Zealand and Sydney and Canberra in Australia – and visiting various parts of the countries before returning to stay with their son.