And so it begins!
For the first stop on their tour of the South Pacific September 11, Prince William and Kate Middleton, both 30, fulfilled a promise made by William's late mother, Princess Diana, to visit a flower named in her honor; Diana had planned to see it in person before her untimely death in August 1997.
Given that his mother never got to see the white flower named in her honor at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, William seized the opportunity to view it himself, calling it "beautiful."
"Did she ever come to Singapore?" William asked. Poon Hong Yuen, CEO of the garden, told the future King of England that his mother had never seen the plant. "It's a shame," William responded. "It's beautiful… Nice, very nice."
After a quiet moment of reflection, the royal couple viewed a new orchid planted in their honor; Vanda William Catherine is a free-flowering orchid hybrid specially designed to honor their marriage. The flower will join Princess Diana's in the VIP area. "It's very kind," William said. "Thank you very much."
Middleton wore a hand-painted, knee-length, kimono-inspired Jenny Packham ensemble for the occasion. William said his mother's flower "seemed very well coordinated with Catherine's dress," Hong Yuen said.
The spouses then signed a certificate to formally name their own orchid. During their 20-minute visit, William and Kate were also shown orchids named after Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth II. Additionally, they met a number of gardeners and scientists who helped design the flowers.
Briton Jason Wright, 29, of Fleet — who works at the garden — even shared a joke with William. "I told him Singapore was a city in a garden," he told Us Weekly. "Kate said they had noticed on the way. William added that 'it's a bit different from the M4.'" See more photos from the royal couple's trip to Singapore.
This was the first royal visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens since Queen Elizabeth II, 86, toured the garden in 1972. William and his wife will continue to tour the nation through September 12 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Tour, honoring her 60 years on the British throne. They will then visit Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur and Sabah, Borneo, from September 13 to September 15. The next day, the pair will tour the Solomon Islands until September 18. They will end their trip with a visit to Tuvalu from September 18 to September 19.
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