Prince's visit to show 'solidarity' with N.Z., Australia
Prince William's visit to the disaster-hit areas of New Zealand and Australia is to show the royal family's "solidarity," a royal spokesman said.
"The royal family have been watching the natural disasters with the same shock and sadness as everyone else," the St James's Palace spokesman told Britain's Press Association.
"They wanted to show their solidarity with the people of New Zealand and Australia, and the decision was taken with the prime ministers' offices and the royal household that Prince William should attend and visit the countries," he added.
William's bride-to-be Kate Middleton will not accompany the prince on the trip, which will take place between March 17 and 21, as it is a royal visit and occurs before the April 29 wedding.
"William will be travelling on behalf of the queen and the wider royal family," the spokesman confirmed.
The queen's grandson will begin his trip in New Zealand where he will visit earthquake-shattered Christchurch before heading off to Greymouth, where 29 miners died last year when a gas explosion tore through the Pike River colliery.
In Australia, William will visit sites affected by cyclones and flooding in Queensland and Victoria.
© 2011 AFP