(SINGAPORE) — Prince William and Kate Middleton touched down in Singapore Tuesday to kick-off of their eight-day tour of Southeast Asia to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first stop a memorable one, visiting the city’s famed Botanic Gardens to view orchids, including one named after William’s late mother, Princess Diana, whose death in an August 1997 car crash came just weeks before she was scheduled to visit the gardens to see the orchid.
“It’s beautiful,” Prince William, 30, said, according to the BBC, pausing to view the flower with his wife, whom his mother also never got to meet.
William and Kate then got to see, for the first time, an orchid the gardens named in their own honor, the Vanda William Catherine. The pink orchid is described as a free-flowering orchid hybrid with white petals and purple-red spots surrounded by a dark purple edge.
Middleton, 30, whose fashion choices will no doubt grab headlines throughout the trip, stood out in a pink kimono-style dress with an orchid pattern — seen as a nod to her Singaporean hosts — by British designer Jenny Packham.
The overwhelming reaction the couple received on their first official overseas trip to North America last summer was matched Tuesday in Singapore, where locals were overjoyed to see the royals.
A crowd of nearly 200 people reportedly gathered outside the Raffles Hotel where the couple is staying to cheer their arrival on Tuesday.
“It was like Christmas,” one local told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff. “We’re excited. We couldn’t sleep last night.”
“It’s uplifting,” said another. “It’s exciting and it’s away from all the depressiveness of recessions and Eurocrises.”
During the rest of their trip, Kate and William will travel to four countries and are expected to engage with the locals through sporting activities, wearing traditional dress and even traveling by canoe.
The pair will conclude their trip with some downtime, staying at a luxurious private estate in the island nation of Tuvalu.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paula Newton, CNN Newswire
Greg Botelho, CNN Newswire