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Royal family kicks off nationwide Diamond Jubilee tour in Leicester

London, Fri, 09 Mar 2012 ANI

London, Mar 9 (ANI): The Queen, Prince Philip, and the Duchess of Cambridge were greeted by thousands of cheering royal fans in Leicester at the start of a nationwide tour for the Diamond Jubilee.


Throughout the day Duchess Kate leaned in to the Queen fondly, at one point whispering a joke.


It was a historic day for the 85-year-old monarch, marking the start of five months of regional visits to celebrate her 60 years on the throne.


After last year's royal wedding, it was another high water mark for the Royal Family, who nickname themselves 'The Firm'.


Once again, the 30-year-old Duchess championed the high street fashion industry. She teamed a 295-pound Jude teal jacket with an above-the-knee 225-pound Davina dress, both by LK Bennett. Her outfit was topped off with a pillbox hat by James Lock, and shoes by Episode, the Daily Express reported.


She laughed and joked with well-wishers but confessed she was missing Prince William, who is in the Falkland Islands for six weeks on duty as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot.


"How's William?" asked Laura Murphy, 30, a physiotherapist, when the royal party went on a walkabout in the city centre.


"He's fine but I'm missing him terribly," the Duchess replied.


She has kept herself busy by throwing herself into her first solo duties and training their cocker spaniel puppy, Lupo.


"I've got a dog that's keeping me occupied," she told interfaith worker Riaz Ravat, 34, who escorted her to the city's cathedral and to a lunch afterwards.


"I'm getting a lot of 'me' time with the dog," she said.


The royals had arrived by train on the 10.15 scheduled service from London St Pancras. Their choice of transport was to save money, as it was cheaper than the royal train, although they returned by helicopter.


They were greeted by 2,000 cheering fans outside the station and then went to De Montfort University, where crowds had camped out since 4am.


"You looked squished," the Queen told one section of the 10,000-strong crowd.


At the university, they watched the first of many dances. Leicester was celebrating 60 years of multi-culturalism and the city put on a show including Bollywood dancers, Chinese performers, a Zimbabwean women's choir, Sikh drummers, and Scout bands.


Aides, however, admitted that it was pure chance that the city had been chosen as the first venue for a regional tour.


"This is the Royal Family coming together to support Her Majesty in Diamond Jubilee year," one aide said.


Inside the university, the Queen, wearing a cerise dress coat and black and cerise hat by Angela Kelly, watched a fashion show with the Duchess that revived memories of the St Andrews University student show at which Duchess Kate's catwalk appearance in a see-through outfit caught Prince William's eye. (ANI)


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