"She loved it," an aide says of the batik dress which came from a local shop, Island Print

By Simon Perry
Updated September 16, 2012 05:00 PM
Chris Jackson/Getty

Top designers would fall over each other to dress her. And she favors exquisite labels like Alexander McQueen and Alice Temperley.

But when the Duchess of Cambridge saw a new dress laid out in her room at her hotel in the Solomon Islands, she switched plans and put it on.

The bright pink and orange batik gown was a gift from the Solomon Islands government and Kate only saw it just before she was set to change and head out again for an official banquet.

“She loved it,” an aide says of the dress, which came from a shop called Island Print.

Kate wasn’t the only one to dress up. Her husband Prince William also wore local colors when he donned a sky-blue shirt. This was also a gift but it wasn’t a surprise – the hosts had checked his size with Kate beforehand.

“I have my shirt on. What do you think? Looks okay?” a proud William said in a formal visit with the Governor-General, Sir Frank Kabui.

Enjoying the lively welcome they have received from the Solomon Islanders, the couple gave a signal of their light-hearted and relaxed mood by posing for portraits for the British press photographers at the dinner.

The couple were entertained by musicians, including a choir and the Haguelu Pan Pipers, who performed wearing grass skirts with white body paint and beads around their heads.

“Mifala barava tagio tumas,” William said, taking a stab at the local dialect. “We thank you very, very much.”

“This land is the most beautiful place imaginable, and the people of the Solomon Islands are amongst the most gracious and friendly we have ever met. The Queen told us this would be so, and as with so much else in her long reign, Her Majesty was absolutely right,” he continued.

“Catherine and I were overwhelmed with the warmth of the reception we received this afternoon. Our expectations were pretty high after what the Queen had told us, but nothing had prepared us for the welcome we received.”