Royal couple kicks off Diamond Jubilee tour, reaffirms close ties between UK and Singapore
SINGAPORE - With an orchid named after them and dinner at the Istana with President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine received a warm welcome in Singapore yesterday as they kicked off their South-east Asian and Pacific tour marking Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.
Upon their arrival at Changi Airport in the afternoon, the royal couple were met by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Defense and National Development Maliki Osman and his wife.
Their first stop was the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where an orchid was named after them: The Vanda William Catherine. During the visit, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge also viewed the Dendrobium Queen Elizabeth II and the Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana.
They were then taken to Raffles Hotel, where more than 100 people greeted the couple and took pictures as they emerged from their car.
At the welcome ceremony at the Istana in the evening, the Prince and the Duchess met President Tan and PM Lee and their wives.
In a speech at the dinner, President Tan affirmed the close ties between Singapore and the United Kingdom: "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."
Prince William, who hailed Paralympics medalist Laurentia Tan and other Singaporean athletes at the recent London Games in his speech, said: "We are delighted that the relationship between the UK and Singapore is now as close as it has ever been ... Catherine and I greatly look forward to learning much more, and seeing much more, during our stay here."
The couple leave for Malaysia tomorrow.
12 September 2012
Britain's Prince William attends a welcome ceremony at the Istana while on an official visit to Singapore on 11 Sep 2012. He is accompanied here by President Tony Tan. Photo by OOI BOON KEONG.