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New Zealand: The Prince's birthday

14th November 2012

The Prince celebrates his 64th birthday in New Zealand

The Prince celebrates his 64th birthday in New Zealand

The Prince of Wales was in good spirits as he celebrated his 64th birthday in New Zealand today.

To the strains of the Beatles tune When I'm Sixty-Four The Prince cut his birthday cake - one of 64 waiting to be eaten - and danced to the song. The Prince celebrated his milestone with The Duchess of Cornwall in New Zealand, the final stop of their Pacific tour to mark The Queen's Diamond Jubilee which has already taken them to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The Prince was joined by 64 Kiwis, aged from 18 to 101 who were also born on 14th November, and Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae, 58, and Bronagh Key, 49, wife of the Prime Minister John Key, who also share their birthday with His Royal Highness.

Earlier in the day when Their Royal Highnesses opened a Diamond Jubilee gift for the Queen - a visitor centre in the grounds of Wellington's Government House - The Prince joked: "It's a jolly good day for Scorpios to unite." He added: "But of course I couldn't think of a better, happier place to spend my birthday then here with all of you in New Zealand."

The royal birthday party was staged at Government House and the Prince and Sir Jerry were ushered over to a table covered with the 64 cakes made from a mixture of dark fruits and boiled sultanas. The Prince stared at the sweet treats each decorated with New Zealand symbols, from the silver fern and kiwi fruit to images of native birds.

The two men each cut a cake as the Central Band of the New Zealand Airforce began playing When I'm Sixty-Four.

At first The Prince looked over to the musicians and raised his eyebrows in resignation but then he started bobbing up and down to the music and moving his hands from side to side as he smiled, clearly enjoying his birthday.

His Royal Highness got an unusual birthday present when he travelled to the Wellington suburb of Miramar, which has been dubbed "Wellywood" because of the movie-making companies in the area. The Prince was given a sneak preview of costumes and props from the new blockbuster by Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson who is bringing The Hobbit, another classic children's story by JRR Tolkien, to the silver screen.

A dwarf from the movie, played by actor Mark Hadlow, offered his sword and service to The Prince, much to his amazement. When The Prince came across the diminutive creature during his tour of a movie special effects company, the dwarf dropped to one knee and said in a booming voice he had been released by Jackson "for you to command as you see fit, your servant Dori".

The Prince laughed and said: "This is the best birthday present I've had for a long time."

Speaking about making the movie the actor said: "It was fantastic, we were filming for 18 months and the whole thing was an extraordinary experience. "It was like being back at boarding school. We were the naughty dwarves and only Peter Jackson could keep us in check and eventually he joined in."

The royal was shown weapons and costumes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first part in a trilogy which receives its world premiere at the end of the month in Wellington. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend its first screening in London. Peter Hambleton, who plays the dwarf Gloin, was part-way through a three-hour make-up process to become his character when The Prince met him.

As The Prince left, some schoolchildren held up a home-made poster painted with the words "happy birthday" and sang the famous song to him.

Earlier in the day The Prince and The Duchess had gone on a walkabout in Wellington greeting large crowds.


New Zealand: Meeting Dori the Dwarf