William completes 'Diana journey'

The Duke of Cambridge has fulfilled his mother's wish to see an orchid named in her honour and movingly described the bloom as beautiful.

Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in August 1997 just two weeks before she was due to visit the stunning flower in Singapore.

William, with wife Kate, has completed that trip and in a poignant moment suggested it "was a shame" his mother was not able to see the delicate flowers of the Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana orchid for herself.

The visit to the bloom in Singapore Botanic Gardens was the first stop on a nine-day Diamond Jubilee tour that will also take the royal couple to Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

With the Duchess by his side, the Duke looked thoughtful as he clasped his hands and stared at the white flowers of the orchid and a few moments later could be heard praising the delicate blooms, saying "it's beautiful, it's beautiful" before smiling.

The visit had a lighter moment as another orchid, specially propagated, was named Vanda William Catherine after the visiting royal couple. With its attractive white petals covered with purple spots, the plant stood out. As did Kate who, in keeping with the theme, wore a kimono-style pink dress decorated with an orchid pattern by designer Jenny Packham.

After touring an orchid garden filled with plants named after international figures like the Queen and Nelson Mandela, the royal couple met a number of gardeners and scientists who helped design the blooms.

Manager Alan Tan Chye Soon, 42, was involved in preparations to welcome Diana before tragedy struck in 1997.

"It was so sad that she never saw it. It is one of our favourite orchids, and most popular. We were getting ready for her to come over when she died. It was like William and Kate are fulfilling her promise today," he said.

Earlier Antony Phillipson, British high commissioner to Singapore, hailed the Duke and Duchess's arrival: "This is a couple who are global superstars and make the British feel very, very good about themselves. That's as true in Singapore as anywhere else."