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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Queen tells Prince: You'll enjoy your trip to Singapore

Before Prince William left for Singapore with his wife Catherine, his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II told him that he was in for an enjoyable experience.
The Straits Times - September 12, 2012
By: Karamjit Kaur
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Queen tells Prince: You'll enjoy your trip to Singapore

BEFORE Prince William left for Singapore with his wife Catherine, his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II told him that he was in for an enjoyable experience.

"She told me how very warmly she remembers her three state visits to this remarkable country in 1972, 1989 and 2006, and she told me how much we would enjoy seeing Singapore and meeting Singaporeans," he said.

"How right she was."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are here on a three-day visit, their first to the Republic.

At a state banquet hosted by President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife, Mary, at the Istana last night, Prince William spoke of the warm ties shared by both countries.

"The high-level visits in both directions, including yours, Mr President, to London earlier this year; the strong trade and investments links; the expanding scientific and educational ties; and our close defence cooperation, all make this a particularly close friendship and partnership."

He also congratulated Singapore on returning from the recent London Olympics with two medals - a first for the country.

"Congratulations, too, to your inspirational Paralympians including Laurentia Tan, whose bronze and silver medals in the dressage make her Singapore's most successful Paralympian," he added.

In his speech, Dr Tan said the United Kingdom is Singapore's fourth-largest European trading partner.

The Republic is also home to more than 3,000 British companies and a 30,000-strong community of Britons.

Close links also extend to education, he said, noting that each year, more than 4,000 Singaporeans pursue degrees from British universities.

Who can forget British football, he said, adding that many Singaporeans subsist "on a weekly diet of English Premier League".

The banquet, which featured Chinese cuisine from popular restaurant chain Peach Garden, was attended by about 50 guests, including Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office; Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Defence and National Development); and the British High Commissioner to Singapore, Mr Antony Phillipson.

Before they sat down for dinner, the Duke and Duchess called on Dr Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

They arrived at the Istana at about 6.30pm, by which time about 70 local and foreign journalists had gathered.

After being welcomed by Dr Tan, Prince William inspected the guard of honour, stopping to chat with two of the men.

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