Sunday, 30 July 2017

George and Charlotte's tarmac tour

It's one way of building a profile. Prince George and Princess Charlotte made like plane spotters this month and spent a lot of time hanging out at airports. The third and fourth in line to the throne accompanied their parents on their visit to Poland and Germany but while William and Kate were on parade through day and night, their little prince and princess kept their appearances airside. We got tarmac and tantrums and loved every second of it. Here's a recap of George and Charlotte's airport adventures from July 2017.

The tarmac tour began in Warsaw where, as expected, George and Charlotte hopped off the plane with mum and dad to get this much heralded royal visit under way.  But they made their presence felt before they'd even taxied to a halt with faces pressed at windows to see the drizzle that awaited them.

It was our first glimpse of the Cambridge kids since Trooping the Colour last month which meant much oohing and aahing. But there was a clear indication this wasn't going to be straightforward at the very start. George seemed reluctant to leave the plane and Charlotte made it clear she was going nowhere by foot. You want this princess off the plane then you carry her.

On the ground, Kate juggled her daughter while shaking hands while George did a fabulous masterclass in being bored, royal style. He scuffed his shoes, he kicked his legs, he put his hands in his pockets. Part one of this European trip was scoring low with the kids who clearly wanted to get on with the serious business of playing.

Wednesday morning saw the royal children back at Warsaw airport as the tour of Poland came to an end. There was a short flight to Berlin where the second stage of the tour would get under way. All in blue this time (the Cambridges were nothing if not colour co-ordinated as they made their way through Europe), Charlotte had got the memo this time by strolling to the steps of the aircraft.

George still wasn't sure about this whole up early, in your shorts and off to the airport thing that mum and dad had come up with. Looking tired and reluctant, George made his way to the plane and had no intention of hanging around while the grown ups chatted. He was straight up the stairs to take his seat and contemplate doing it all over again in Germany in just a few hours' time.

Berlin was bright and beautiful as the Cambridge family touched down at Tegel for part three of the tarmac tour. George hopped down the steps and rubbed his eyes a lot, perhaps aware that his sister was about to steal the scene. Charlotte was already clambering down the (rather large) plane steps as George stepped on to the red carpet.

But every prince knows you're never going to be able to compete with a princess getting her first bunch of flowers. Charlotte was presented with a mini bouquet after mum had been handed her blooms and took to delighting everyone by smelling them constantly and holding them as if she'd been born to it. Which, let's face it, she has.

Charlotte's tarmac tour took a more two year old turn as it came to an end in Hamburg, the final stop on the royal visit to Germany. As the prince and princess joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for a visit to a helicopter or two, Charlotte was less than happy. We got a full on royal tantrum on the tarmac, already one of the most famous royal events of 2017.

George couldn't have cared less, he was in his element. Helicopters are clearly top of his wish list as a prince who had started this last part of his airport tour looking pretty unimpressed was suddenly the happiest boy in the world.

George and William, father and son, two kings in waiting, had a bit of a male bonding moment in front of the world's press as they sat and chatted helicopters. It was great to see George looking so happy.
Then it was time to say goodbye. The Cambridge children walked on to their plane one last time, settled down and pressed their faces against the glass safe in the knowledge they won't have to do this again for months. George and Charlotte's tarmac tour was over. It raised some questions - among them, was there really much point in the children going on this working visit when their appearances were limited to the airport and neither of them really seemed to enjoy it all that much. 
But their parents know what is best for them and the Cambridges had family time away from the cameras. As they prepare for a new phase in their lives, with William leaving his role as an air ambulance pilot and the couple moving to London ahead of taking on more royal duties, this was also a turning point in their family appearances. The Cambridge kids are growing up fast and however much their mum and dad want them to lead a normal life, the realisation is creeping in that normal for these little ones does involve public appearances. It could be that this tarmac tour is where George and Charlotte's profile begins to take off.

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