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Comment 23 OCTOBER 2012

Birthday treat for Tolkien fan Charles: A sneak peek at 'The Hobbit' and tour with Peter Jackson

23 OCTOBER 2012

For a life-long fan of JRR Tolkien, birthday treats don't get much better than this.

Prince Charles is to spend his 64th birthday meeting Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson at the New Zealand studios where he is putting the finishing touches to The Hobbit.

The visit will be one of the highlights of Charles' trip to Australasia next month with the Duchess of Cornwall.

The royal couple will tour New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea on the last of the British royal family's overseas trips to Commonwealth countries mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

As details of the couple's itinerary were revealed, aides confirmed Charles would spend November 14 meeting Peter.

The British royal will also be shown some of the prosthetics and makeup used to create the effects in the film, including the hairy feet of the protagonist Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman.

"The Prince is a great fan of children's literature and Tolkien is one of the great icons of children's literature," a royal source told The Daily Telegraph.

"He and the Duchess have seen Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films and the Prince has said he is very much looking forward to seeing Bilbo Baggins' foot."

Prince Charles will also attend a birthday party with New Zealanders who share his November 14 birthday.

Other highlights of the 13-day tour include a visit to the Australian outback and a trip to the Sydney Opera House.


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