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Comment 11 SEPTEMBER 2012

'Global superstars' William and Kate touch down in Singapore


The Duchess of Cambridge paid a savvy fashion tribute to her hosts as she and Prince William arrived at the start of their tour in Asia and the South Pacific. 

Kate's pink kimono-style dress by Jenny Packham was adorned with orchids in a nod both to her Asian surroundings and her first engagement at Singapore's Botanical Gardens.

Despite stepping off a 14-hour flight and the sticky tropical heat, the Duchess looked fresh and poised, flashing her trademark radiant smile.  

Duchess Cambridge


Cheered by well-wishers who had gathered since the early morning, the popular couple made their way inside to the VIP orchid Garden to share a bittersweet moment.

For the first time, William had a chance to see a flower named after his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

The bloom was created in 1997, with the intention that it would be presented to her when she visited the Far East. Sadly, that day never came.

But her son and the woman who would have been her daughter-in-law proudly accepted the honour together.

"It's beautiful, beautiful," said the Prince. "That's very nice."

The young royals have also had a flower named after them, and Kate left clutching the pretty pink 'Vanda William and Catherine' orchid on the way to Raffles Hotel, their base for the stay.


Duchess Cambridge

It was really the only destination for the pair, who have been described as 'global superstars'.

Some 125 years old, the imposing, colonial-style establishment is famous for its Singapore Sling cocktail and has hosted everyone from Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson to William's grandmother, who stopped over during her own visit to Singapore in March 2006. 

Director of marketing Andrea Greybanks said the Duke revealed that he was "pleased to be following in his grandmother's footsteps" by staying there.

Outside, fans eagerly waited for a glimpse of the historic hotel's latest VIP guests.

Tourist Namitha Kothari, visiting from Bangkok, was thrilled by the possibility of meeting Britain's golden couple.

"I was so excited to find out they would be coming. I've always been in awe of the British royal family,"  the 42-year-old told Singapore's English newspaper, Straits Times.


Duchess of Cambridge

Earlier in the day, British High Commissioner Antony Phillipson was waiting to welcome them on the tarmac of Singapore's Changi Airport.

Ahead of their trip, he praised the feelgood factor the Duke and Duchess have generated among Britons.

"Over the last few weeks, as we've been able to tell people more and more about the visit, there's been a mounting excitement.

"This is a couple who are global superstars and make the British feel very, very good about themselves – that's as true in Singapore as anywhere else."

Later in the day, William and Kate passed on the Queen's good wishes to Singapore's President Tony Tan – joining him at his official residence, the Istana.


Duchess of Cambridge

Istana translates as 'palace' in Malay, and the executive mansion dates back to 1867, when it was constructed on the orders of Singapore's first British colonial governor, Sir Harry Saint George Ord.

It was the perfect setting for Kate to showcase another look – a pretty printed design by Prabal Gurung.

Meanwhile, her husband was due to conclude the day by addressing assembled statesmen, including President Tan and Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, on behalf of Her Majesty.

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