09/11/2012

Will and Kate make an orchid-inspired arrival at Singapore

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William examine the orchid hybrid named in their honour at the Singapore Botanical Gardens on Day 1 of their Diamond Jubilee tour on Tuesday It's called the Vanda William Catherine. (Getty Images) 

After 14 hours in the air and probably a lot more than deciding what to pack, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge touched down in Singapore on Tuesday for the start of their nine-day Asian-South Pacific tour.

Kate gardenAfter landing at at Changi International Airport about 2:50 p.m. (2:50 a.m. EDT) they were met representatives of the Singapore government and the British High Commisson. The first of many flowers -- a posy -- was presented to Kate, who wore a kimono-style dress by Jenny Packham which featured a pink Asian-influenced orchid pattern.

An hour later, they were at the Singapore Bontanic Gardens, visiting the VIP Orchid Garden (right), where prominent people have an orchid named after them. One of the orchids was named after the royal couple -- the Vanda William Catherine -- joining more than a hundred others already bearing VIP names, including one for William's mother, Princess Diana.

The couple spent some time admiring the Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana, which was named just a few weeks before the princess's death in 1997.

"It's beautiful ... it's beautiful," said William. "Did she (Diana) ever come to Singapore?"

When informed that she hadn't, he said: "It's a shame. It's beautiful. Nice, very nice."

KateeDespite the very warm 36(C) temperature, the royal couple showed little sign that the heat bothered them.

After the garden visit, the couple headed for the Raffles Hotel, where about 200 people cheered their arrival.

After a quick change, it was off to the Istana, or Presidential Palace, where Kate gave a nod to Singapore designers by wearing a floral-inspired dress by Prabal Gurung, who is now based in New York. (The dress has been sale-priced at $1,100 Canadian.)

The day was capped off with an official state dinner hosted by the president of Singapore, Tony Tan Keng Yam (and his wife Mary Tan, right, with Kate), and highlighted by Prince William's first speech of the tour.

"Before we left London, my grandmother told me how very warmly she remembers her three state visits to this remarkable country in 1972, 1989 and 2006," the prince said. "And she told me how much we would enjoy seeing Singapore, and meeting Singaporeans. How right she was."

The island republic gained independence from Britain in 1963 and has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1965.

It was noted by the media that during the dinner -- a seven-course Chinese banquet -- several toasts were made and each time, Kate drank out of her water glass instead of the wine glass in front of her. That will no doubt once again spark speculation about whether the duchess is pregnant.

On Wednesday, Kate and William's itinerary includes a tree planting, a visit to the Rolls-Royce aircraft engine factory and a tour of Rainbow Centre, a school for children with special needs.

Then it's off to Malaysia for two days before heading for the Solomon Islands. They end their visit to the South Seas on the island of Tuvalu, the fourth smallest country on the planet and home to about 10,500 people.

The prince and duchess are travelling with an entourage of eight, one more than they took on their tour of Canada and the U.S. in 2011.

Kate orchid
Kate smiles during the ceremony naming an orchid hybrid in honour of her and Prince William at the  Singapore Botanic Gardens on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Diana
 

Kate dressABOVE: Kate and William smile as they look at an orchid named in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales at Singapore Botanical Gardens on Day 1 of their Diamond Jubilee tour. (Getty Images).

LEFT: Kate wears a dress designed by Singapore-born Prabul Gurung at the presidential palace as she watches Prince William review the honour guard.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Garden
William and Kate stroll through the Singapore Botanical Gardens accompanied by National Parks Board CEO Poon Hong Yuen. (Getty Images)

William

Prince William stops to talk to an honour guard member during the welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday. (AP Photo)

Pm
Prince William chats with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge looks on at The Istana. (Getty Images)

President William and Kate pose with the President of Singapore, Tony Tan, and his wife Mary Tan at The Istana on Day 1 of their Diamond Jubilee tour. (Getty Images)

Toast

Kate toasts President of Singapore's wife Mary Tan at dinner as she visits the Istana. She stayed away from her wine glass and sipped water instead. (Getty Images)

QUEEN'S 'BOND' STAR CORGI DIES

Queen bondMonty, one of Queen Elizabeth's dogs that was featured in her James Bond video at the Olympic opening ceremony, has died.

The 13-year-old Welsh corgi died at the Queen's Balmoral residence in Scotland over the weekend, Buckingham Palace said. It added that one of the Queen's dorgis (cross between a corgi and dachshund), Cider, has also died.

Monty, who was previously owned by the Queen Mother, was the oldest of the Queen's corgi/dorgi brood.

The deaths leave the Queen with two remaining corgis -- Willow and Holly -- and two dorgis, Candy and Vulcan.

 

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