Prince Charles and wife Camilla will attend the Melbourne Cup race in Victoria as part of their three-nation Pacific tour in November to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee. The royal couple will also visit the Hobbit film studios in New Zealand.
'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' hits Australian theaters Dec. 26, 2012.
The Melbourne Cup, held every first Tuesday of November - Nov 6 this year - is Australia's major thoroughbred horse race that covers 3,200 metres. It is held at the Flemington Racehorse and starts 3 p.m. (daylight savings time). The event, which started 1861, is considered the race that stops a nation.
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will present the Cup to the owner of the winning horse. Besides the British monarch, other celebrities such as Mischa Barton, Delta Goodrem and Brynne and Geoffrey Edelsten will also attend the event, which is a public holiday in metropolitan Melbourne and parts of Victoria.
The 2011 Melbourne Cap was won by Dunaden, a horse based in France, which won over Red Cadeux in the closest finish in the race's more than 150 years history.
Prior to Australia, Charles and Camilla will have a sneak preview of the film The Hobbit when they visit New Zealand. The Prince of Wales is a fan of JRR Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings series shot in different parts of New Zealand.
Besides the sneak preview, the royal couple will meet with The Hobbit director Peter Jackson, who has boosted the country's film industry. Prince Charles wants to see the foot of Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit in Tolkien's book, who is known for his hairy feet because of always walking barefoot, reports said.
The heirs to the British throne will visit four New Zealand cities, namely: Auckland, Wellington, Manawatu and Christchurch. Among their activities are meeting the country's Olympic athletes, dinner at SkyCity, visit Mr Jackson's Weta Workshop, tour a local barn and attend the 150th Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show.
While there is a move to push a republican government in Australia, recent surveys show that young Aussies are not that hot about the issue, largely because of their view of the younger royals - particularly Prince William and Kate Middleton - whom they see as celebrities.
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