'Best birthday present' for Prince Charles as 'Hobbit' dwarf pledges allegiance14 NOVEMBER 2012
For a lifelong Tolkien fan, birthday presents really don't get any better than this. It was the icing on the cake for Prince Charles when a dwarf from The Hobbit pledged his allegiance to the royal during a tour of Peter Jackson's New Zealand movie studio.
Actor Mark Hadlow was in character as dwarf Gorin, who he plays in the movie. When he spotted the heir, the actor dropped down on one knee, resting his hands on his sword, and said in a booming voice that he had been released by Jackson "for you to command as you see fit, your servant Dori".
Clearly delighted, Charles broke into a wide grin and laughed. "This is the best birthday present I've had for a long time," said the man of the moment, who turned 64 on November 14.
During his tour in the film studio in the Wellington suburb of Miramar the Prince was shown weapons, props and costumes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first part in a trilogy adaption of the much loved book by JR Tolkien.
The film will be unveiled during a world premiere at the end of the month in Wellington. A screening in London will follow, with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attending.
Charles met several of the actors, including Peter Hambleton, who plays the dwarf Gloin. The actor was undergoing a three-hour make-up transformation to change him into his bearded character when the British royal dropped by. Speaking about making the film, he said: "We started make-up at 4.30am to get into character and we worked up to 16 hour days."
The birthday celebrations had begun at a reception at Wellington's Government House, where Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were joined by 64 Kiwis who share the Prince's November 14 birthday.
The guests ranged in age from 18 to 101 and included Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae, 58, and 49-year-old Bronagh Key, the wife of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.
Charles joked: "It's a jolly good day for Scorpios to unite," adding: "But of course I couldn't think of a better, happier place to spend my birthday then here with all of you in New Zealand."
The birthday boy and his wife were ushered over to a table bearing 64 square cakes made from a mixture of dark fruits and boiled sultanas. They were decorated New Zealand symbols, from the silver fern and kiwi fruit to images of native birds.
There was a further surprise in store when the Central Band of the New Zealand Airforce began playing Beatles' songWhen I'm Sixty-Four. At first Charles was seen raising his eyebrows, but then he started bobbing up and down to the music and moving his hands from side to side as he smiled.
Charles and Camilla are on the final leg of their 13-day tour of Australasia to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. They have also visited Papua New Guinea and Australia.