She’s still settling in to her royal duties, but the Duchess of Cambridge today showed how she was already winning friends the world over.
Kate looked at ease as she chatted to fans young and old on the second day of her trip to Singapore with husband Prince William.
She stooped to chat head-to-head to her smaller supports through security fencing, many of the children wearing school uniform and waving Union Flags.
The royal couple’s nine-day Diamond Jubilee tour has generated a huge amount of interest among foreign press, with more than 90 journalists, cameramen and photographers from countries including Japan, America, China, Germany, New Zealand and Australia covering the event.
There are more than 170 Singaporean media accredited for the visit and dozens of British Press travelled out ahead of the royal couple to be in place for the start of engagements.
William and Kate’s trip will also take them to neighbouring Malaysia and the remote nations of the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu to mark the Queen’s 60-year reign.
Their popularity was clear and they received a raptuous welcome from huge crowds during a visit to the Gardens by the Bay conservation area displaying plants and flowers from the Mediterranean and the Tropics.
Scores of schoolchildren were among the mass of people who were treated to a walkabout by the couple today with Kate seemingly slipping into the role of People’s Princess. However, the ever glamorous royal sacrificed fashion for safety on her next stop as she and her husband donned wrap-around safety goggles for a visit to a Rolls-Royce jet engine factory.
William jumped at the offer to test one of the multimillion-pound machines during a guided tour of the state-of-art plant in Singapore, saying: “Yes we will,” in a loud voice when asked by staff. There was no chance of the sophisticated engine being damaged by the royals, as engineers had set a limit on how hard the engine could be pushed.
Kate, wearing a white Alexander McQueen broderie anglaise suit, went first and sat down in front of a bank of screens and tentatively put her hand on the throttle as William watched. The test facility at the huge open-plan plant began to rumble as the Trent 1000 engine, built for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane, sprang to life and began to whine and after a few moments the Duchess slowly brought it back to a stop.
Kate asked the test engineer who had been watching her every move: “Did that sound OK?” and he replied: “That was perfect, nothing wrong with that test.”
The royal couple walked through the vast space of the factory at Rolls-Royce’s Seletar campus, which was opened in February and has begun building Trent 900 engines for the Airbus A380 double-decker plane. Hundreds of staff had gathered to cheer the Duke and Duchess who were celebrating the British success story that is Rolls-Royce.
In a speech William said: “Here is cutting-edge aerospace technology developed by one of the United Kingdom’s great global companies.”
Before leaving Kate was given the task of fitting the last of 24 fan blades to a Trent 900 engine. As she pushed a lever the titanium blade slotted home and she turned to William and Mark King, president of civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce, and pumped the air with her fist and smiled.