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PHOTOS: Royals visit Christchurch quake zone

Friday 16 Nov 2012 2:58 p.m.

See the photo gallery

By Sarah Robson

The demolition work in Christchurch's central business district didn't stop for the arrival of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

As the royals pulled up at Cashel Mall on Friday afternoon, concrete tumbled from one of the nearby buildings carefully being pulled down in the CBD red zone.

Dust lingered in the air on a warm and sunny Friday as thousands of Cantabrians lined the mall hoping to catch a glimpse of the prince and duchess.

The couple is wandering through the shipping container mall and Camilla even stopped by the shop of local fashion label, Ruby.

Shop assistant Emily Stevens said Camilla told her she wished she had more time to shop and said the clothes were lovely.

The royals arrived in the city about midday and were welcomed at the Christchurch City Council by mayor Bob Parker, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) chief executive Roger Sutton.

The couple were welcomed to the Christchurch City Council offices in Worcester Boulevard by Ngai Tahu performing a Maori welcome.

The Prince of Wales presented a copy of the letter of condolence sent to Cantabrians on the first anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake to Mr Parker.

About 200 people turned out to see the couple, some with royal-themed hats and bouquets of flowers.

The crowd clapped as the motorcade pulled up and as Camilla, wearing a tweed-textured cream coat and dress ensemble, walked up to take her seat, she mouthed "I'll come back" to royal fans eager to meet her.

The couple then met privately with 20 people seriously injured in the devastating February 22, 2011 earthquake and their caregivers.

They toured part of the residential and CBD red zone and met with some former residents whose homes were badly damaged in the quakes.

Later on Friday, the prince and duchess will visit the 150th Canterbury A&P Show.

They depart Christchurch, bound for Britain, late on Friday night.


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