Kate and Will hit the road to Singapore
There are several burning questions as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embark on their second major royal tour this week:
1) What will Kate wear?
2) What will Kate wear?
The Duchess is not blind to this fascination, of course, and reportedly has a wardrobe plan for every minute of their nine-day tour of Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. It begins in Tuesday in Singapore, where the couple will be staying at the Raffles Hotel (right).
More than a year after their triumphant tour of Canada and the U.S., the royal couple begins a tour once again puts Kate and her clothes squarely in the media spotlight.
Here are some of the sure things to expect from Kate's fashion parade:
- British designers will be front and centre. No tour would be complete with some Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham. You can also expect to see outfits she has worn before, in keeping with her Recycle Kate reputation. For Canadians, the game will be to spot any of the clothes she wore on her tour of Canada last year.
- Expect something nice from the Queen's jewellry box. Word is Kate will be wearing one of the Queen's tiaras at a state dinner in Malaysia.
- Most certainly, you will see Kate honour the hosts with some local costumes. There are several events planned on the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu which could see Kate in some kind of traditional grass skirt. And she needn't worry too much about she'll keep up with hair. Word is she will have a hairdresser along on this trip, paid for by Prince Charles.
More than a hundred journalists are covering the tour which kicks off Tuesday, the vast majority from Britain but also from countries like China, Indonesia and Australia.
The schedule is packed, designed to give Prince William and Kate a cultural and culinary taste of every locale. Visually, a highlight will be their visit to a Borneo rainforest on Saturday. There will also be plenty of interest in a speech Kate is due to give at a Malaysian hospice on Thursday, only her second public speaking engagement.
The local chapters of the British High Commission have been hyping the visit for some time, even offering contests with the winner invited to tea with the royals. In Singapore, Jimmy Lam won the photo contest for best describing Britian in Singapore (winning entry at right).
As for Kate and William, this tour is their major contribution to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and as such, expect plenty of references to grandma, especially in tiny Tuvalu, where the Queen last was famously carried on shoulders in 1982.
There will be one night, Sept. 17, where Kate and William will be away from prying eyes. Much like when they were Skoki Lodge in Banff National Park, this tour has a getaway plan -- the private island of Tavanipupu in the Solomon Islands, known for its great snorkeling.
The couple took a mini pre-tour holiday over the weekend after being highly visible during the summer in their roles as ambassadors for the British Olympic team. The getaway site was the Chateau d'Autet, a secluded 640-acre estate in the Luberon region of France owned by Viscount Linley, the Queen's nephew and son of the late Princess Margaret.
The chateau began life as a 19th-century hunting lodge and has been restored since being purchased by Linley in 1999.