Outraged New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has decried as ‘nonsense’ the inflammatory comments made by former Metropolitan Police head of royal protection Dai Davies concerning the release of what the latter considers to be sensitive information about the upcoming royal tour.
Mr Davies criticised as ‘idiocy’ the release of information providing times, locations, maps and best vantage points to see The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their eight-month-old son Prince George, when they begin their long-awaited three-week royal tour through New Zealand and Australia on Monday.
The former head of royal protection described the information released via Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae’s Twitter account as “a manual for terrorists, nutters and fixated people hoping to harm (the royal family).”
“I’m appalled at the idiocy of any idiot who would publish this far in advance both route and location,” said Mr Davies. “I find it almost unbelievable someone would do this. It’s a manual and it goes against anything I believe in. Appalled is the word.”
The Prime Minister lashed out at Mr Davies’ comments, saying: “Well that bloke’s an idiot; the Governor-General certainly isn’t.”
“My understanding is Government House has been working with the Palace. They were quite aware of what was said,” explained the Prime Minister.
“We’ve had a 30-year history of giving out indications of routes that the royal couple, royal family members, will take.”
The royal tour is handled by the Department of Internal Affairs’ Royal Visit Office, and the staff have indeed been disseminating the details of the visit using the Governor-General’s official social media channels to help New Zealanders get a good glimpse of the Royal Family.
Allen Walley – the Royal Visit Office’s media manager – insists the tweets and notifications did not breach any regulations.
“There is no problem with it,” he said. “All of this was planned well in advance, it was signalled to Kensington Palace and it was cleared with New Zealand police. (…) Sending out the routes and public meeting places and so forth has been the norm with every royal visit to New Zealand for the last 30 years.”
In the meantime, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have politely declined a personal invitation from the Prime Minister offering to cook them dinner at his exclusive family home, as they will not be staying in Auckland overnight.
“They said no because they want to be back in Wellington and close to Prince George,” Key told The New Zealand Telegraph’s The Diary.
The young royals are intent on spending as few nights as possible away from their little boy, who will be staying at a ‘home base’ with his nanny while the couple eagerly keeps up with a full schedule of engagements.
One can recall how well the Prime Minister got along with the royals when he and his family were invited to join Her Majesty for a weekend of leisure at Balmoral, The Queen’s summer residence, last year. Prince William and Catherine were there to introduce ‘bonny’ Prince George to his great-grandfather, Prince Philip, who was the last to meet the future king due to ill-health.
Though guests are not supposed to reveal any details of their private visits with The Queen, Mr Key could barely contain his excitement, saying:
“It was a truly remarkable and extraordinary experience. They were extremely generous hosts and we had a fantastic weekend. We were invited in as guests in their private family time. (…) I played golf in the morning, Stephanie went out hiking (with Catherine), Max was part of a shooting party (that included Prince William), The Queen drove us around the estate so we had an opportunity to look at all the parts of Balmoral estate.”
A special highlight of the weekend was the bonding time the Prime Minister shared with Prince William during the customary, not-to-be-missed, Saturday barbecue, prepared and served by Her Majesty herself along with other royal family members. It was, perhaps, this special courtesy that the Prime Minister hoped to repay with his offer to do the same.