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Royal couple touch down in Solomon Islands

Published: 3:19PM Sunday September 16, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived in the Solomon Islands, for the start of a two-day visit.

The tiny country has been preparing for the visit from the Royal couple, making its capital fit for a future king.

Prince William and Catherine are in the island nation as part of a nine-day southeast Asia and Pacific tour, in honour of the Queen's Jubilee.

Their Royal Highnesses touched down at Henderson Airport, Honiara, at approximately 6pm New Zealand time.

They were greeted by the Governor General of the Soloman Islands, Sir Frank Kabui and his wife, Lady Grace Kabui, as well as the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy.

A traditional welcome from Island Warriors was watched by Prince William and Catherine, before they boarded an open-top vehicle in the shape of a traditional canoe with a leaf roof canopy, which carried them through the capital.

The excitement of their visit to the Solomon Islands has even reached the villages outside of Honiara.

"Oh it's my honour and my pleasure," said youth worker, Ellison Maitaifiri.

"It's a long time, it's my dream to have this couple.

It's 30 years since Queen Elizabeth visited the country, and Solomon Islanders are keen to show this young generation of Royals they are just as welcome.

Signs and banners have been put up around the capital, and one ice-cream stall is giving away free ice-cream to anybody named William or Kate.

And with thousands expected to turn up to see the Royal couple in person, police have been working closely with Palace officials on security measures.

"We are having probably about 200 to 300 police officers in the events," said Police Commissioner, John Langsley.

"We are using significant resources."

Violence was sparked last year when a group marched in protest against the Government.

They have been warned that any similar action during the Royal visit is not appropriate.

"To be frank, we do not have sufficient police resources to do both, and that's one of the criteria, that is reasonable in the circumstances," said Langley.

Those who have already been chosen to meet Prince William and Duchess Catherine include young Pacific leaders in the country for a Commonwealth youth conference.

"For us it's a really good experience because they are young leaders like we are back at home," said Tavite Fisiitalia.

During the visit their Royal Highnesses will attend a Jubilee thanksgiving service at St Barnabas Cathedral, and a traditional feast in the grounds of Government House.

But despite their busy schedule William and Catherine will get the opportunity to enjoy some private time together tomorrow night - after they booked into an exclusive island resort.

"Normally with high profile people we get many demands, from this couple not a single demand, nothing," said Yoshiyucki Sato, Tavanipupu Island Resort director.

"We just cant believe that - they are truly Royal."

Locals are hoping the Duke and Duchess leave Tavanipupu with more than just good memories.

"If a little surprise should happen in nine months time maybe Tuvanipupu Windsor?" said one local.

"Or if its a boy, Solomon. And later on he will become King Solomon."

Prince William and Catherine have already visited Singapore, Malaysia and Borneo as part of their tour.

The Royal couple have chosen to continue with their planned trip as the row over topless photographs of the Duchess continues to rage in Europe.

The Royal family have begun legal action against a French magazine which published images of Catherine sunbathing topless as the couple enjoyed a private holiday last week.

An Irish newspaper has since followed suit, while other European publications have said they are considering publishing the photographs.

ONE News Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver will have daily coverage of the Royal couple's tour of the Pacific throughout this week.