The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began their honeymoon in the Seychelles this morning. The couple have said they want to have a private holiday without press intrusion after their very public wedding in Westminster Abbey 11 days ago.
The destination had been kept secret but the Seychelles tourist office confirmed the couple touched down at the international airport on Mahé at 7.20am local time before heading on to an undisclosed island.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent a week in the Indian Ocean archipelago in August 2007, on the island of Desroches. Prince William is reported to have told islanders that the trip was the best holiday he had ever had. Desroches is the main island of the Amirantes Group – locations which boast exclusive resorts in the kind of settings well out of the reach of most honeymoon couples.
The archipelago boasts 115 islands, so the couple will have plenty of idylls to choose from. There is speculation that they may have chosen the ultra-exclusive Fregate Island Private, a 20-minute helicopter ride away from Mahé, the nation’s largest island.
Just a mile in length and less than a mile wide, Fregate has seven beaches to choose from, lush tropical vegetation and rare wildlife species including the magpie robin. The island also boasts a colony of giant tortoises.
Following the wedding, the couple enjoyed a private weekend before Prince William returned to work as a search and rescue helicopter pilot with the RAF. Over the weekend, he was involved in the rescue of a retired judge who had a heart attack while walking on Snowdon. His car was reportedly seen leaving Anglesey, north Wales, on Monday accompanied by a police Range Rover piled high with luggage.
The Middleton family complained to the Press Complaints Commission on Monday after photographs of Kate and Pippa Middleton and their mother, Carole, in bikinis while on holiday with Prince William on a yacht off Ibiza were published in four newspapers – the Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, News of the World and Daily Mirror. The photographs, taken in 2006, were described by the Mail on Sunday as “never-before-seen pictures”.
St James’s Palace said: “The couple have asked that their privacy be respected during their honeymoon.”
The Palace declined to say how the long the honeymoon would be but confirmed Prince William had taken two weeks leave from operational duties.
The couple will begin their first official overseas trip as a married couple by touring Canada from 30 June to 8 July.
The newlyweds will stay in an exclusive villa that costs £4,000-a-night and is located on one of the most beautiful and romantic islands in the world.
The Duke and Duchess are believed to have flown out by private jet on Monday before being taken by helicopter from the mainland to the tropical retreat.
Back to work – but not for long. William was spotted returning to the Air and Sea Rescue headquarters at RAF Vally in Anglesey after the wedding
William’s car was apparently seen leaving Anglesey, north Wales, yesterday accompanied by a police Range Rover piled high with luggage.
A spokesman for St James’s Palace said he would not confirm their honeymoon destination, although according to reports, the couple may have headed for the Seychelles.
The spokesman added William has taken two weeks leave from operational duties.
‘We are not confirming and we are not commenting on speculation on where they may be going on their private honeymoon, we are just confirming that they have gone,’ he said.
‘The couple have asked that their privacy be respected during their honeymoon.’
Two Scotland Yard protection officers checked the destination three weeks ago to ensure it would give the couple the privacy they crave.
The couple’s holiday resort, which is surrounded by coconut groves, offers almost complete isolation. Its white sand beaches are bathed by crystal-clear turquoise waters and are a sanctuary for sea turtles.
Only a handful of luxury villas are dotted across the island. Hand-crafted from local wood, each has an open-air bathroom area with sunken bath and shower, a private garden and a wooden deck with freshwater rock pool and yoga pavilion.
There is a butler on hand in every villa, and a personal chef will conjure up a daily menu based on freshly-caught fish and whatever delicacies the couple wish.
The area is an eco-haven and while snorkelling, kayaking or diving are encouraged, its tranquillity is preserved with a ban on jet skis and similar watersports.
A source said: ‘It’s one of the most incredible places you will ever visit and Kate will have the time of her life. It’s everything you could want from a honeymoon destination and more – beautiful beaches, tropical seas and complete privacy.
‘The Prince’s protection officers flew out to check it out and their villa has been booked and confirmed.
‘It’s a real Robinson Crusoe kind of place. There are some beautiful hikes, but if you can’t be bothered to walk a golf cart will transport you. They will also deliver you a picnic with ice-cold drinks.
‘If you fancy some company there is a little beach bar and a restaurant. Most people, however, prefer to eat meals brought by the butler on the privacy of their deck while watching the sunset.’
ROMANTIC IDYLL OF THE SEYCHELLES
If the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen the Seychelles for their honeymoon they could well be heading for an idyllic location they visited four years ago.
William and Kate had a week-long break in August 2007 on the island of Desroches, a paradise just four miles long, about 150 miles south west of the Seychelles’ main island, Mahe.
It was reported that William told islanders the Desroches trip was the best holiday he had ever had.
Desroches is the main island of the Amirantes Group – locations which boast exclusive resorts in the kind of setting that most honeymooners can only dream about.
The Seychelles is a classic get-away-from-it-all location, lying in the Indian Ocean between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator.
William and Kate will find that the Seychelles ticks all those honeymoon boxes – warm weather, white-sand beaches, seclusion, luxury and romance.
If this is not enough, the royal couple are even going at the right time of the year. The Seychelles get the wettest weather in January – when many Britons are tempted to go to get away from the worst of the UK weather.
But May in the Seychelles sees the start of the cooling trade winds which keep the temperature down in the evenings.
The couple can expect to have temperatures between 24C (75F) and 32C (90F) – plenty hot enough for swimming and diving if they fancy it.
If a little island-hopping is required then this is the place to do it, as the Seychelles is made up of more than 100 islands.
Desroches boasts the luxury Desroches Island Resort hotel. The island was named after the Chevalier des Roches, the Governor of Mauritius from 1767 to 1772.
During the weekend after their wedding, the Duke and Duchess enjoyed a ‘mini-moon’ at a mystery location in the UK.
They flew in the Queen’s helicopter from Buckingham Palace on the day after their nuptials for a two-night break.
Clarence House refused to reveal their destination, or issue official pictures of the honeymooners. Previous royal newlyweds, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana and the Queen and Prince Philip, all posed for photographers.
The secrecy sparked a nationwide guessing game with alleged sightings of the couple from the Isles of Scilly to north east Scotland.
On their return from their honeymoon, the couple face a ten-week separation as William is sent to the Falkland Isles to further his helicopter training.
Partners are banned from joining those serving in the South Atlantic, so Kate is unable to travel with William to the remote post.
Kate is said to have been disappointed by the news. ‘They have known about the Falklands for several weeks, but Kate was very upset when she first heard,’ a source told the Sun.
‘It is an awful way to start married life, especially hard because it destroys the first magic of being together.
‘William could probably pull some strings and get out of going. But he is determined to be treated like any other search and rescue pilot.’
William, a flight lieutenant in the RAF’s Search and Rescue squad, is to be sent to the Falklands to fly a Sea King helicopter, completing training that will allow him to be promoted from co-pilot to pilot, a move he is determined to make.
Reports suggest that William is keen to focus on his RAF career, to the extent that he may even be trying to gain enough flying time to be considered for a combat role in Afghanistan, although this is a move that may be blocked due to his status.
It was widely expected that the couple would be going on honeymoon straight after their wedding but it was announced that the Duke would be returning to work at RAF Valley on Anglesey before the trip.
Despite his status as second in line to the throne he had to apply for leave like his colleagues.
He was given a week off for the wedding but was told that he would have to split any further holiday requests – hence the delayed departure date.