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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Swaying to the South Pacific beat: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge don grass skirts to join in tribal dance on royal tour

•Kate and William touch down in remote island cluster of Tuvalu
•They donned grass skirts to take part in a traditional welcome dance
•They are carried from private jet on thrones behind procession of performers
•Royal couple had previously snorkelled and had private dinner before flying
•Stop in Tuvalu is the last leg of their Diamond Jubilee Tour

By Rebecca English, Royal Correspondent IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS

Swaying in time to the music, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became true South Pacific royalty today when they donned colourful skirts and danced the night away at a gathering of island chiefs.

The couple are currently on the island of Tuvalu, one of the most remote spots on earth, to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Until now they have been members of Tuvalu's royal family in name only - but after their display at an inter-island singing celebration earlier they became fully fledged members of the community.
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Shake their hips: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge donned grass skirts and took part in a traditional welcome dance today on the last leg of their South Pacific tour

Traditional dance: The Royal couple seem to be enjoying the dance, known as Fatele after arriving in Tuvalu

Star of the show: Princess Kate joined local women in costume during the dance

William and Kate shimmied, swayed their hips and moved their arms as they joined six island communities of the South Pacific nation at a fatele or local dance where groups try to out sing and dance each other in a friendly rivalry.

The Duchess looked the more natural and got to her feet time after time to join the performers, while William left it till in later in the evening to try out his moves.

At one stage, however, both had colourful skirts tied around them to make them really feel the part.

Natural performer: Kate got to her feet and joined in many times during the dance

Looking the part: Kate got involved in the South Pacific tradition

Spraying dancers: Kate performed another tradition where dignitaries sprayed dancers with perfume as a mark of respect and gratitude

Another tradition associated with the event is for dignitaries to spray perfume or scent on dancers they like as a mark of respect and gratitude.

Armed with a bottle of Paul Smith London for Men, both royals liberally sprayed the performers.

The Duke and Duchess clearly enjoyed themselves, laughing and joking with each other.

To celebrate: The couple are on the island of Tuvalu, one of the most remote spots on earth, to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Shimmied: William and Kate shimmied along with six island communities as the groups tried to out sing and dance each other in a friendly rivalry

At the end, William summed it up as 'good, really good - an amazing evening' when asked by Tapugao Falefou, a senior government official who helped organise the royal visit, if he had enjoyed himself.

The rousing event capped a busy but exciting day for the royals who were welcomed with a greeting not seen since the Queen last set foot on the Funafuti, Tuvalu's main island in 1982.

The couple later toured the village in their carriage that had been fitted to a large flat bed truck that flew William's royal standard from its cabin.

On tour: Kate spoke to students at Nauti Primary School on Tuvalu

William donned a wreath of flowers during the visit to the local primary school

Centre of attention: The couple took a tour of the primary school as well as a university and an exhibition showcasing traditional houses and crafts from the islands

It was part of a motorcade that featured a number of 4X4 vehicles and at the front and back had an escort of policemen without helmets riding small motorbikes.

Their tour took them to a school and a university and to an exhibition showcasing traditional houses and crafts from across a number of the islands.

But the highlight of the visit was the rousing end to the night when the island communities sang in glorious unison to the enjoyment of the royal couple.

Before they arrived at the hall the royals enjoyed a banquet fit for two kings at a nearby venue that also saw the chiefs and politicians enjoy the sumptuous meal.

Table talk: William and Kate also spoke to locals at the University of the South Pacific

The locals listened intently as Kate spoke to them at the University of the South Pacific

Kate looked stunning in a yellow dress and flower head dress as she toured Tuvalu

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