A long flight from London to Alice Springs didn't seem to have had any effect on the Princess of Wales as she stood on the runway holding Prince William in her arms on Sunday March 20th 1983 for the start of her 6 week Australian tour with the Prince of Wales. There were beds on the royal couple's Royal Australian Air Force Boeing 707, and a sky cot for the 9 month old baby Prince. Nanny Barbara Barnes accompanied them and looked after William at Woomargama in New South Wales, while his parents flew across the continent.


During their stay in Australia, the royal couple's busy schedule included a tour to St. John Ambulance regional centre in Alice Springs, a visit to Alice Springs School of the Air, an open air buffet luncheon in Telegraph Station, a visit to Ayers Rock, a tour to Karguru School and lunch at the Eldorado restaurant in Tennant Creek.


On March 24th, the royal couple arrived at Canberra, and were welcomed at the Civic Square. Their engagement also included a meeting with Prime Minister Bob Hawke and his wife.

New Zealand

On April 6th, the royal couple arrived at Perth Airport. During their trip round a stadium filled with 45,000 schoolchildren in Auckland, the royal couple were presented with the garlands. It was there the Princess first publicly 'hongied' or nose rubbed - a Maori form of greeting. She appeared a little embarrassed by the Maori jade fertility symbol, which was hung round her neck at Waitangi Islands, and tried to keep it covered with a bunch of yellow flowers. The royal couple were also taken on a trip in a traditional Maori canoe.


Later, they flew to Wanganui to visit Prince Edward, who was spending the last few weeks of his two terms there as a master at Wanganui Collegiate. On April 18th, the Prince and Princess of Wales attended Coppelia Ballet at St. James's Theatre. Earlier that day, Princess Diana visited local schoolchildren at Eden Park in Auckland. But it was on April 23rd, when reporters and photographers had an opportunity to meet the baby prince.


Prince William proved that he isn't camera shy during his first-ever press call at Government House in Wellington. Faced with a host of cameras, the little Prince happily set off in their direction: he crawled, turned up the rug, showed his seven precious teeth, bit his bright wooden toy bee and took a few steps, almost unaided. His parents looked proudly on. The end of the tour was marked by a farewell banquet at the Sheraton Hotel, and on April 30th, the royal couple departed from Auckland to go back home after a successful six week tour.



  • Charles And Diana's First Royal Tour, By David Levenson. Publication Year: 1983