Skip to main content

What awaits Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Southeast Asia?

By Max Foster, CNN
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Wed September 12, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hope to repeat success of their North America tour
  • Stops on their itinerary include Singapore, Malaysia and Borneo
  • Final stop is Tuvalu, where Prince William's grandfather, Prince Philip, is revered as a god

London (CNN) -- The first overseas tour by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge -- North America -- was an undisputed triumph. The couple, still basking in the glow of their globally televised wedding, drew vast crowds throughout Canada and California.

Will their hosts in Southeast Asia be charmed as easily? Here's my best guess as to where and when the likely highlights will be.

The most poignant moment would undoubtedly be at the start of the tour in Singapore. In 1997, the Singapore Botanic Gardens named an orchid after Prince William's mother, Diana, with the intention of presenting it to her on her next visit -- but she died before she had a chance to see it.

William completed what Diana could not on the first day of his tour Tuesday. He and his wife also had an orchid named after them.

The next stop, Malaysia, will take on a more excitable tone -- and it's all about Catherine. A bigger population means bigger crowds, and the British High Commission is doing what it can to whip up interest by tweeting details of where you can rub shoulders with the couple.

Britain's Prince William and Catherine viewed an orchid named for William's late mother in Singapore. Britain's Prince William and Catherine viewed an orchid named for William's late mother in Singapore.
Royal couple see Diana orchid in Singapore
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
UK royals visit Singapore UK royals visit Singapore

The Duchess will give only her second public speech at a hospice in Kuala Lumpur. Public speaking doesn't come naturally to Catherine, but she clearly wants to make the hospice movement a key part of her public role: her first public speech as a royal was at East Anglia's Children's Hospices, the hospice charity she supports in the UK.

Catherine will be more comfortable on Thursday night for what's set to be the most glamorous evening of the tour: full frocks and rocks for a state dinner hosted by the King of Malaysia, whose name -- Almu'tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah -- takes some getting used to. Luckily for the Duke and Duchess, the king -- who attended Oxford University -- speaks fluent English.

From the city to the jungles of Borneo on Saturday and the couple will visit a conservation project in Sabah, recommended to them by Prince Charles, who shares a passion for the environment with his eldest son. Royal photographers are holding out for an encounter with orangutans as the couple negotiate rope bridges high up in the forest canopy.

On Sunday, expect a big South Pacific welcome in the Solomon Islands and a canoe trip to paradise. After a series of formal engagements, the Duke and Duchess will spend the night at the luxury Tuvanipupu resort before heading off to their final destination: the remote island of Tuvalu, where the Queen is head of state and her husband, Prince Philip, is revered as a god. When William's grandparents visited Tuvalu they were carried on the shoulders of warriors, creating one of the abiding images of the Queen's 60-year reign.

The Duke and Duchess are likely to get the same treatment when they arrive there next week as they cement their role as the next generation of British -- and Tuvaluan -- royalty.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT