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Prince William is currently in Christchurch, New Zealand, to view damage resulting from the devastating earthquake that destroyed the homes and livelihoods of thousands of people last month, and to attend the memorial for the 180+ people killed.

William toured some of the worst-hit areas today, describing the damage as “unbelievable.” He also congratulated the Urban Search And Rescue teams that worked hard throughout the disaster: ’’You guys have been doing a sterling job. You really have. You have done fantastically well."

William also visited the West Coast town of Greymouth today, to meet families of the 29 miners killed in the Pike River mining disaster last November.

The heir to the monarchy has announced that victims of the Christchurch earthquake will benefit from a new charity initiative that asks people to give to charity in lieu of wedding gifts ahead of his marriage to Kate Middleton next month.

“Having been touched by the goodwill shown them since the announcement of their engagement, Prince William and Miss Middleton have asked that anyone who might wish to give them a wedding gift consider giving instead to a charitable fund,” a spokesman for the prince said. “The couple have chosen to take the chance to benefit some causes that have less exposure or which are undertaking valuable work in areas of the community which the couple feel would benefit from this support.”

Twenty six charities around the world – including BeatBullying – will benefit from the initiative, with money being distributed by a charitable foundation set up by William and Prince Harry.

“I believe it’s a mark of great respect for New Zealand that the couple have nominated the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal as one of those charities,” said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. “The Prince’s support for New Zealand at this time underscores his commitment to the country and I am very pleased to be hosting him for his visit.”

The Royal Wedding Charity Fund can be accessed here.

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