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Prince George: The royals' new star who's even turning anti-monarchist heads

BY AMANDA FERGUSON

He is the royal secret weapon.

Not even one-year-old and already HRH Prince George of Cambridge has amassed millions of fans across the globe.

And if anyone is wondering if Australia will ever make the break to become a republic, all they have to do is look at how the young future monarch has been melting even the hardest hearts on his first official tour.

The royal visit to Australia and New Zealand has been a huge hit with the public Down Under, with Prince George stealing the show from his parents at every appearance.

Royalists and anti-monarchists alike have been enamoured when the bouncing baby has been shown off by his proud parents.

Since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with the prince, touched down at Sydney Airport for a 10-day tour of the two countries last week, their media has been consumed by royal baby fever.

Women's Day magazine dubbed him 'His Royal Cuteness' on its front cover, which also featured images of Kate under the headline 'Our Queen of Hearts'.

Gorgeous Prince George was also dubbed 'the Republican slayer' on one Australian television programme.

This comes as a poll by Fairfax-Nielsen poll found 51% of Australians said switching to a republic was unnecessary.

However, some 42% are still in favour of a republic, suggesting there is still a relatively strong pro-republican sentiment in the country.

The Fairfax poll also found 28% of Australians believe the nation should become a republic either 'as soon as possible' or 'after Queen Elizabeth's reign ends' (31%).

And 35% said 'Australia should never become a republic', an increase from 31%, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Young George has also been making headlines for his fashion sense.

Keen royal watchers quickly picked up that a nautically-themed romper suit the eight-month-old was photographed in was similar to an outfit his father Prince William wore as a baby, sitting on the lap of his late mother Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in 1983.

Twitter was awash with commentary about his cute image and it wasn't long before the outfit became a sell-out.

One fashion-savvy fan said: "Prince George proves the smocked romper suit with Peter Pan collar has never gone out of style for royal babies."

DO YOU THINK BABY GEORGE IS A GREAT PUBLIC RELATIONS WEAPON FOR ROYALISTS?

Cathy Martin

Public relations boss and mother

"A baby is always a very positive thing, but a royal baby is great. Kate and William have always had good publicity. A baby is the icing on top of the fairy tale story. Catherine, for want of a better word, is a commoner, so having Prince George is the happy every after. It is not strategically thought-out, but he is a great helping hand in the overall royal PR machine. A cute baby is going to melt hearts and every child is innocent, so it would be hard to be negative about him."

Denise Watson

Sports journalist and mother

"The pictures of George are reminiscent of William and Diana. When she had William there was the same intense publicity. The Press went daft for him and the story is being replicated again. It's good PR for the royals, not that they have had bad PR since Kate's been on the scene. Not like Prince Harry, bless him. She is the perfect princess. Babies always make good pictures and Kate has been very liberal about privacy in terms of him being photographed."

Emma Louise Johnson

Broadcaster and mother-of-two

"Watching the news coverage of the visit makes me smile almost as much as my own precious wee man keeps me smiling. There's just one week between HRH Prince George and my prince JJ, so I'm always interested in the royal baby's progress. He's beautiful and the spit of his dad at his age. The royal family could not buy the world-wide good will that emanates from this gorgeous baby. I'd agree he'd 'turn' most anti-monarchists."

Michelle McTernan

PR expert and mother

"Kate and William are young, proud parents. As a new mum myself I know they'll be wanting to show their baby off. It is good George is included and not left in London. Kate and William are a real, identifiable couple in comparison to the older generation of royals. Prince William seems like a hands-on daddy. You just would not have seen Prince Charles do that. This and trips overseas showing them as a close family unit are good for the royal brand. They seem like a genuine, happy family."

Nicola Bothwell

Belfast marketing expert

"As a Diana-ist, I'd hoped George would be a baby girl to fill the void she left. Then George was born and I was dragged into Gorgeous George fever. However, it's sad that at a time when more than 200 people are missing on an aircraft some commentators find it more interesting to comment on Kate's skirt flying up in the New Zealand air. However, when I saw a Land Rover being driven by his daddy, carrying him and his mummy, I instantly fell in love with our future king."

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