Wills and Kate in first visit to the Asia-Pacific

Britain's Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge at the Paralympic Games in London. Photo / AP
Britain's Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge at the Paralympic Games in London. Photo / AP

This week will mark a number of firsts for the royal family's newest duchess.

Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will make their first official visit to the Asia-Pacific region, starting on Tuesday.

For the Duchess - popularly known as Kate - the visit will mark the first time she has made a speech abroad, had an orchid named for her and ridden in a garlanded war canoe.

There's also speculation she will continue her so far flawless metamorphosis into royalty by wearing one of the Queen's tiaras to an official dinner.

William and Kate, whose popularity has helped to reinvigorate the monarchy, will act as official representatives of Queen Elizabeth for her 60th year on the throne.

Much of the couple's nine-day itinerary, which takes in Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and the tiny island of Tuvalu - but not New Zealand - has been personally selected by the Queen.

The weather, food, sights and smells will be a far cry from life on the Welsh island of Anglesey, where Kate and William are said to spend their time enjoying home-cooked meals and quiet nights on the sofa.

It's understood the duchess, who has spurned the idea of a personal shopper, has selected upward of 30 outfits.

As with her first trip aboard to Canada last year, the duchess is expected to showcase local designers, such as the Malaysian-born shoe designer Jimmy Choo.

Despite the heat, the leggy brunette will need to opt for a demure look at many of her official visits, given Islam is the largest practised religion in Malaysia.

William has said one of his regrets is that his mother never got to meet Kate, but the couple will take time out in Singapore to visit an orchid named after Diana in the Botanic Gardens.

Diana might have had a few words of encouragement for her daughter-in-law, who will make her first speech in a foreign country when she addresses staff and patients at a Malaysian hospice.

Meanwhile, Kate has revealed that William has been practising his dance moves.

She spoke about his preparations when the royal couple met the Solomon Islands' governor-general Sir Frank Kabui following a Diamond Jubilee thanksgiving service in London recently.

During the event, William said: "We're extremely excited. Both of us have never been anywhere near there."

The royals are expected to wear traditional dress when they visit the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, as well as travel in a garlanded war canoe.

Canada played host to the couple's first official royal tour in June and July last year.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge won't be visiting Australia or New Zealand.

Instead, William's father and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, will visit the two countries later this year with his wife Camilla.

Things to know about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

* The pair met while studying at Scotland's University of St Andrews in 2001 and began dating a year later.

* Prince William proposed to Catherine in October 2010 in Kenya, giving her his late mother's blue sapphire engagement ring.

* The couple married on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey in front of an estimated worldwide audience of two billion people.

* Catherine was 29 years old when they married and William was 28.

* The newlyweds honeymooned in the Seychelles, an island country off Africa's east coast, last May.

* Their official residence is Kensington Palace but their main home is on the Welsh island of Anglesey, where William works as a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force.

* Canada played host to the couple's first official royal tour in June/July last year. William and Catherine also visited Los Angeles in the United States.

* The Duke and Duchess made many public appearances during Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee year, and took part in the flotilla celebrations along the River Thames.

* Both featured heavily as ambassadors for the London Olympics.

* The couple embark on their second overseas tour this week, visiting Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tulavu as official representatives of the monarch for her 60th year on the throne.

* Catherine was named in Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people in 2012.

* William, who is second in line to the throne, spent six weeks working in the Falkland Islands in early 2012. His posting sparked a diplomatic row between Argentina and the UK over the island territory.

* According to British media reports, the couple enjoy home-cooked meals and quiet nights on the sofa watching DVDs.

* William's youngest brother, Prince Harry, has criticised his sibling for becoming ``rather boring'' since getting married.

* In 2013, William and Catherine are expected to move into a freshly-renovated apartment at Kensington Palace.

* Royal fans and magazine editors are on baby watch, anticipating that the couple will produce the third in line to the throne soon.


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