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Britain's Prince William to Tour New Zealand, Australia Disaster Areas


Britain's Prince William (file photo)

Britain's Prince William (file photo)

Britain's Prince William will travel to New Zealand and Australia to visit with residents in areas devastated by recent natural disasters.

A spokesman for the royal family says the grandson of Queen Elizabeth will travel on March 17 to Christchurch, New Zealand, where he will spend two days viewing the damage caused by last month's 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

The prince will attend a memorial service the next day for those killed in the disaster. Authorities have recovered 166 bodies so far but expect the final toll to reach 240.

After Christchurch, Prince William will visit the New Zealand mining town of Greymouth, where 29 miners died in an underground explosion late last year.

From there, he will head to Australia and spend two days touring the northern states of Queensland and Victoria, which have been devastated by cyclones, heavy rains and massive flooding.

The royal spokesman says the prince is traveling to New Zealand and Australia at the invitation of those countries' prime ministers, John Key and Julia Gillard. He last visited both countries in January of last year.

Prince William is scheduled to marry longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton on April 29. Middleton will not accompany her fiance on the trip.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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