4 Nov 2012

Royal couple arrive in PNG at start of tour

12:07 pm on 4 November 2012

A crowd of several thousand turned up at Port Moresby's Jackson's Airport to witness the arrival of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in Papua New Guinea.

Prince Charles and wife Camilla landed on a Royal Australian Air Force plane on Saturday to begin a 13-day tour of the southern hemisphere to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, AAP reports.

The royals were met with a 21 gun salute as they touched the red carpet, and were greeted by PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and dignitaries, as well as school children dressed in traditional PNG attire.

The children performed a Hiri dance - a traditional movement performed as part of a trading ritual by coastal peoples who live near Port Moresby.

Prince Charles, who is colonel in chief of the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, inspected the assembled battalion before being whisked off to meet Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio.

As he left the airport, the crowd outside let off a cheer and ran to keep up with the royal entourage.

This visit marks Prince Charles's fourth trip to the Pacific island nation since he was a schoolboy in 1966. It is the Duchess of Cornwall's first trip to the nation.

The visit follows months of preparation by the PNG government, which fast-tracked roadworks to patch up the city's cracked and heavily potholed roads along the routes Prince Charles and the Duchess will take on their three-day tour in and around the capital.

The royal duo will visit a nearby village and participate in an ecumenical church service and cultural display at Moresby's Sir John Guise Stadium.

The Prince will also visit a youth centre and Camilla will be presented with an orchid named in her honour.

The royal couple leave PNG on Monday for Australia. Prince Charles is due to celebrate his 64th birthday in New Zealand on 14 November.