Singapore says it with flowers as Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive
THERE was laughter as well as sombre moments for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they began a nine-day Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East and South Pacific.
• William and Kate arrived in Singapore for a nine-day trip to meet kings, presidents and the public
• The couple will also visit Malaysia, and parts of the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu
• William is expected to put his interest in conservation and ecology when he visits the Malaysian rainforest jungles
William and Kate arrived in Singapore yesterday, the first stop before they travel on to Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
The royal couple visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens where they were presented with an orchid named in honour of William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
Diana was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997, just two weeks before she was due to visit Singapore to be officially presented with the flower, Dendrobium memoria Princess Diana.
William suggested it was “a shame” his mother had not been able to see the orchid’s delicate blooms herself.
With Kate by his side, he looked thoughtful as he clasped his hands and gazed at the white flowers, saying: “It’s beautiful, it’s beautiful”. He then smiled.
A lighter moment soon followed when the couple were presented with an orchid propagated in their honour and named Vanda [its genus] William Catherine.
With its attractive white petals covered with purple spots, the plant stood out, as did Kate who, in keeping with the theme, wore a kimono-style pink dress decorated with an orchid pattern by designer Jenny Packham.
After touring an orchid garden filled with plants named after international figures, including the Queen and former South African president Nelson Mandela, the royal couple met a number of gardeners and scientists who helped design the various hybrids on show.
Manager Alan Tan Chye Soon, 42, was involved in preparations to welcome Diana before tragedy struck in 1997.
“It was so sad that she never saw it. It is one of our favourite orchids, and most popular. We were getting ready for her to come over when she died. It was like William and Kate are fulfilling her promise today,” he said.
The couple were shown around the gardens by chief executive Hong Yuen Poon.
As they stood in sweltering temperatures in front of Diana’s orchid growing in a large ornate white pot, William spoke about his mother and asked the chief executive: “Did she ever come to Singapore?”
Mr Poon replied that she had not, and William said in response: “It’s a shame… It’s beautiful… Nice, very nice.”
The tour has generated huge media interest, with around 90 journalists, cameramen and photographers from countries such as Japan, the US, China, Germany, New Zealand and Australia covering the event.
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