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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spend their first day in Singapore

11th September 2012

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Singapore today for the start of their Far East and South Pacific tour for The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Their Royal Highnesses are touring the region over the next nine days in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, meeting kings, presidents and prime ministers and a host of ordinary people from some of the world's most remote nations.

Antony Phillipson, British high commissioner to Singapore, greeted The Duke and Duchess at  Singapore Changi airport and praised the feelgood factor they have generated among Britons.

Speaking ahead of their arrival, he said: "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."

The Duke and Duchess's trip will also take them to neighbouring Malaysia and the remote nations of the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu to mark the Queen's 60-year reign.

The Cambridges were formally greeted by Mr Phillipson and senior officials from the Singaporean ministry of foreign affairs at a low-key reception at the airport.

Their first engagement today was an orchid-naming ceremony in Singapore when a flower will be named after the Duke and Duchess.

In a poignant moment, Their Royal Highnesses saw an orchid named after The Duke's mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

This evening, The Duke and Duchess received an official guard of honour welcome at Istana, the official residence of President Tony Tan Keng Yam, before having an informal meeting with the Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Following the formal welcome, a state reception and dinner was held in their honour.

The tour across the Far East and South Pacific will be a colourful experience for the The Duke and Duchess who are expected to get involved in sporting activities, wear traditional dress when in the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, travel by canoe and receive traditional welcomes.

The Duchess will also make her first speech in a foreign country when she addresses staff and patients at a Malaysian hospice.

Her Royal Highness is patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices and gave her inaugural speech to volunteers and staff at the organisation's Ipswich hospice earlier this year.

The Duke's interest in conservation and ecology will see Their Royal Highnesses visit the rainforest jungles of the Malaysian state of Sabah, where they will climb up into the canopy. In Tuvalu, The Duke is likely to learn about the concerns residents have about rising sea levels due to climate change.

The nation last received a royal visit in 1982 when The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were carried ashore in garland-covered "carriages" after arriving in the royal yacht Britannia.

On arrival in Singapore, The Duchess emerged from the aircraft wearing a kimono-style pink dress with an orchid pattern by designer Jenny Packham.

At the airport, Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by senior parliamentary secretary for the ministry of defence Maliki Osman, who said the couple told him they were "excited" to have arrived.

He said: "It's a great honour to have them here in Singapore, for them to be starting their tour here.

"William said he has friends here and he's been told there are lots of wonderful things to see.

"They said they were excited to be here and looking forward to the visit."

The couple were also introduced to Lieutenant Colonel Lim Jit Mee, honorary aide for The Duke, and Superintendent Teo Yee Lay, honorary aide for The Duchess.