Solomon Islands: A Look Back at the Royal Tour of the Duke & Duchess
The royal couple, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, embarked on a royal tour to the Far East and South Pacific in September 2012 on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee. The 10-day tour included official visits to Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. The Duke and Duchess spent three days touring the South Pacific nation of the Solomon Islands, their third stop on their royal tour.
Warm Welcome in Honiara
The royal couple arrived at Honiara International Airport on 16 September 2012 to a warm Solomon Island welcome attended by local officials and excited onlookers. A traditional dance performed by a group of local dancers wearing customary garb signalled the start of the island nation’s welcoming festivities, which were due to unfold over the next few days.
After watching the traditional dance performance, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were ushered into a converted Toyota truck which had been decorated with palm leaves, bamboo and rush matting to resemble a customary war canoe. The royal couple smiled and waved aboard the specially decorated vehicle as a crowd of 70,000 locals cheering their arrival lined the main road from the airport to St. Barnabus Cathedral.
A Jubilee Thanksgiving Service to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as the arrival of the royal couple followed at the cathedral located in the capital of Honiara. After the heartfelt service, Prince William and his beautiful wife Kate, attended an official engagement at Government House, hosted by the Governor General Frank Kabui, which drew the day’s festivities to a close.
Royals Rub Shoulders with Locals
The second day of the royal couple’s tour of the Solomon Islands was jam-packed with a host of official engagements. The day started with a visit to the Commonwealth Youth Programme at a cultural village, where the Duchess of Cambridge met with a group of women working in local public service and various non-government organisations. Prince William, ever the good sport, attended a soccer demonstration and even kicked a soccer ball around with local youths.
Next on the royal agenda was a visit with Gordon Darcy Lilo, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands and his cabinet. After which the royal couple left the capital of Honiara and headed off to Marapa Island where they watched a shark ceremony and listened to the speech given by the village chief.
Next was a visit to Tavanipupu Island, where the Duke and Duchess arrived in a traditional war canoe to meet with island locals and watch further displays of traditional song and dance.
September 18th brought with it the final day that the royals would spend in the Solomon Islands. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a farewell ceremony held by locals at Honiara International Airport before jetting off on their final leg of their Jubilee Tour to Tuvalu. Despite the fact that a few years have passed since the royal couple’s first official visit to the Solomon Islands, many of the locals still fondly remember this once-in-a-lifetime experience when British royalty roamed their isles.