Diamond Jubilee tour’s sparkling start

THOUSANDS of well-wishers brought a city centre to a standstill yesterday as the Queen began her Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK with the Duchess of Cambridge.

Everywhere the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the duchess went in the centre of Leicester they were greeted by huge crowds of cheering, flag-waving people.

The duchess told one woman she was missing Prince William “terribly” during one walkabout as hundreds clamoured to shake her hand.

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Kate looked relaxed as she chatted with her grandmother-in-law who also appeared to be enjoying meeting the crowds.

Laura Murphy, 30, waited for seven hours before she managed to shake hands with the Duchess and ask her “How’s William?”.

The physiotherapist, who was wearing a plastic Union flag cowboy hat, said the duchess replied: “He’s fine – I’m missing him terribly.”

She said the duchess told her she was “being well looked after” in the absence of her husband, who is serving in the Falklands.

The royal party was greeted by banks of flag-waving supporters at the railway station this morning.

Their first destination was De Montfort University, where hundreds of students and other members of the public clamoured to get photographs and shake hands with the Queen and the duchess.

Crowds 20 to 30 people deep lined the square outside the university’s main entrance.

Inside, the two royal women were scheered as they walked into a fashion show, where they sat next to each other at the end of the catwalk and exchanged smiles and comments on the students’ designs.

The Diamond Jubilee tour last until 25 July, with the royal party in Scotland from 2 to 6 July.