Prince to leave Kate for Queensland?

Prince William, pictured with fiancee Kate Middleton, will visit Queensland later this month.
Prince William, pictured with fiancee Kate Middleton, will visit Queensland later this month. 

Prince William will travel to Australia to visit disaster-ravaged areas in Queensland and Victoria just a month before his wedding.

The groom-in-waiting is expected to leave behind fiancee Kate Middleton later this month for the five-day trip, which will also include two days in New Zealand.

The prince's visit was announced this morning by Buckingham Palace, but as yet there is no word on whether his bride-to-be will take time out from preparations for the April 29 wedding to accompany him.

A spokeswoman for Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said it was unlikely Ms Middleton would visit.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard's office had few details of the impending trip, despite having invited Prince William following the recent disasters.

The prince will arrive in Queensland on Saturday, March 19, where he will tour areas affected by cyclone Yasi and flooding and will meet victims.

He will then spend a day in north-western Victoria to view the area recently affected by flooding.

Before arriving in Australia, he will be in New Zealand and visit Christchurch, devastated by an earthquake in February, and attend the national memorial service at North Hagley Park on March 18.

He will also visit Greymouth to speak to the families of last year's Pike River Mine disaster.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the visit would do wonders for the state's struggling tourism industry.

"I do thank the prince for his decision to visit Australia," she told State Parliament.

"I hope that he sends the message back to his friends and colleagues in the UK that Queensland is open for business and that while he's here he gets an opportunity to see that himself."

She said the prince's itinerary in the state would be released at a later date.

- with AAP

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