Prince George showed he is growing up fast when he joined a baby playgroup for the first time.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son was described as a “bubbly” and “feisty” eight-month-old who is advanced for his age by other parents.
George was boisterous and lively, waving his arms and kicking his legs in excitement when he spotted the other babies – all a similar age to the Prince – with their toys.
Dressed in a pair of blue dungaree shorts, a white blouse and soft blue pre-walking shoes, he crawled around interacting with the other children and stole their toys after escaping the attentions of his mother at the event, staged on the third day of the Duke and Duchess’ tour of New Zealand and Australia.
When Kate chatted to the other parents she revealed her son is sleeping well and has moved on to solid food while William said the best way to get over jet-lag was to sleep and distract his son.
In the plush surroundings of Wellington’s Government House – the official home of the Governor General – William and Kate chatted informally with the parents of 10 babies including a pair of gay fathers and a single mum.
Grant Collinge, 38, and Magda Gurbowicz, 35, met the royals with their baby boy.
Mr Collinge said: “George is bubbly, quite feisty and he took control. He crawled to the centre of the room and he owned the place. He honed in on certain toys and took the ones that he wanted. No-one was going to stand in his way.”
He added: “We chatted to the Duke first and asked about how they and George coped with the jet-lag.
“William said sleeping and distracting (the baby) was the best thing to get over jet-lag and that’s what they’d done with George.
“We spoke to the Duchess about group play – George had never played with so many babies before. She said it was the most amount of babies they’d ever had in a room with George.”
As a proud dad he could not resist comparing his son’s development with that of the baby prince who will one day be king: “We found out Lucas had more teeth than George so he’s winning that race.”
The idea of the reception was to give William and Kate the opportunity to introduce George to the world in a less formal way, and give the couple a chance to swap anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of being first-time parents.
At one point during the reception Kate held George on her hip as the teething Prince pulled at her hair and put it in his mouth.
The playgroup was organised by the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, a non-profit organisation which helps more than 90 per of New Zealand babies with free childcare advice, home visits and other services.