World / Europe

Prince William, Kate arrive in Singapore

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-09-12 10:03

SINGAPORE - Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine arrived in Singapore on Tuesday, the first leg of their nine-day tour of four countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific region.

Prince William and Princess Kate, known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the royal protocol, received warm welcome at the airport before they were whisked to the Botanic Gardens in Singapore on Tuesday afternoon.

Prince William, Kate arrive in Singapore

Britain's Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, look at orchid hybrids named in their honor at the National Orchid Garden in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Sept 11, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

The prince was seen wearing a dark blue suit with a light blue tie, while the princess emerged in a knee-length dress that is largely in the color of cream but adorned with pale flowers. The crowd that had gathered at the Botanic Gardens for a glimpse of the royal couple screamed in excitement as their convoy drove by. Many members of the public, some of them British expatriates, had gathered at the Botanic Gardens upon news that the royal couple are going to make a visit.

In line with the Botanic Gardens' tradition of naming new breeds of orchid Singapore's national flower after visiting dignitaries, an orchid there was named Vanda William Catherine. It was a free-flowering orchid hybrid with white petals, sepals with purple red spots and a dark purple lip.

The couple also viewed two other breeds of orchids that were respectively named after their grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince's mother, Princess Diana.

A man in the crowd outside the orchid garden held a bouquet of flowers and a portrait of Diana.

"I just like Diana, that's why I brought it here," he said with a smile.

Partly thanks to the visit of the royal couple, the hotel room rate had surged recently. Some British visitors reportedly changed their schedule in order to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

William and Kate called on Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Istana on Tuesday evening. They were also hosted to a state dinner by President Tan.

Tan said bilateral relations between Singapore and the United Kingdom have flourished under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

"The relationship between our two countries has remained strong and tightly knit over the years, underpinned by deep historical ties, a shared language and substantial mutual interests. Our bilateral cooperation has grown steadily and now spans a broad range of fields, including politics, trade and investment, defence, culture, education and science and technology."

Prince William said: "We are delighted that the relationship between the UK and Singapore is now as close as it has ever been. The high-level visits in both directions - including yours, Mr President, to London earlier this year - the strong trade and investment links, the expanding scientific and educational ties and our close defence cooperation - all make this a particularly close friendship and partnership."

While in Singapore, they are also expected to visit a public housing estate in Queenstown in the southern part of the city state and tour the Rolls Royce factory here.

After leaving Singapore, the royal couple are scheduled to visit Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. While in Malaysia, Catherine will give her first speech outside Britain as a member of the royal family.

Prince William, Kate arrive in Singapore

Britain's Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, looks at the Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana orchids as she tours the National Orchid Garden in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Sept 11, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

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