The prince is "angry seeing his mother's name ... being dragged through the mud," says a source

By Simon Perry
Updated June 30, 2005 08:00 AM
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Despite new scurrilous book claims about his mother filling the British tabloids back home, a stoic-looking – and tanned – Prince William landed in New Zealand Thursday to begin a 10-day trip in which he will carry out his first official solo royal engagements.

First duty after his day-long flight from England: smiling at a crowd of around 200 well-wishers at Wellington airport, including an excited group of schoolchildren who had something in common with the 23-year-old prince. They attend St, Andrews College in Christchurch, NZ. Only last week, William graduated from St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Bridget Hoffman, mother of one of the youngsters, called out, “Hello William. These children are from St Andrews.” “Awesome,” the prince replied.

William’s visit Down Under comes as a royal source confirms his anger and sadness at claims made by alternative therapist Simone Simmons in her book, Diana: the Last Word, currently being excerpted in The Sun tabloids. Among Simmons’s reputed revelations are that Diana slept with John F. Kennedy Jr. and tried cocaine. She also alleges that William’s 20-year-old brother, Prince Harry, underwent a DNA test to prove that Prince Charles is his father.

William “is angry and disgusted,” the source tells PEOPLE. “He gets angry seeing his mother’s name yet again being dragged through the mud. These allegations are rubbish.”

In the past, William and Harry have appealed for an end to publications such as Simmons’s and admonished those who have written tell-all books about the late princess. Meanwhile, the prince’s minders at the palace have refused to comment publicly on the book.

William is in New Zealand to support the British Lions rugby team, who take on the All Blacks team over two test matches. Meeting some of the squad at their hotel in central Wellington on Thursday, the 6’3″ prince tried to appear taller and stronger than he already is as he posed for a photo with a couple of the players. “I have to make myself look bigger,” he joked.

Friday he is scheduled to be the guest of honor at a special dinner with 100 local young people. “It is a chance for William to meet other young people,” says an aide.