Evoking memories of Diana: Kate makes first visit to mosque – and wears veil and attire like her mother-in-law wore 20 years earlierPair visitedAssyakirin Mosque, the biggest inMalaysia which can host 12,000 for Friday prayersRoyal couple take off their shoes at mosque in sign of respectCouple have taken time to swot up on Islamic art and cultureThousands gather to welcome couple to city centre parkKate meets shoe designer Jimmy Choo at very British tea party
Duchess appears determined not to let strain of topless picture revelations show
The Duchess of Cambridge evoked memories of Princess Diana this morning as she and Prince William made their first ever visit to a mosque.
Kate echoed her late mother-in-law in a pale grey dress by Beulah London with a draped head scarf. The ethical label is run by the couple”s close friend Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs.
As she stepped out of her official car the 30-year-old royal was ushered to a chair to kick off her 185 nude LK Bennett heels, displaying her stockinged feet in line with religious protocol.
In line with religious protocol: Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take their shoes off before entering the Assyakirin Mosque in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which they visited this morning on the latest stage of their tour of South-East Asia on behalf of the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee
Sensitivity: According to Islamic religious law, all visitors to mosquesmust remove their shoes and women must cover their hair before entering. Kate wore a pale grey dress by Beulah London with a draped head scarf. The label is run by the couple”s friend Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs. She left her 185 nude LK Bennett heels by the door
Ready to go: Prince William pulls his socks up after removing his shoes, as the Duchess rises from her seat to join himon their guided tour of the city centre mosque
The couple were visiting the Assyakirin Mosque in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, which is the biggest inMalaysia and can host 12,000 for Friday prayers.
It”s the royal couple”s first visit to a mosque anywhere in the world.
Kate”s appearance at the mosque evokedmemories of Princess Diana, who displayed similar cultural sensitivity on royal visits to mosques in Egypt and Pakistan.
The late Princess of Wales appeared inan almost identical outfit on a visit to an Egyptian mosque during a tour of Egypt in 1992.
A royal aide said: “It is the first time that either the Duke and Duchess have visited a mosque. They were keen to do so as it is is an important part of UK culture as well as being the predominant religion here.”
But the irony of the sight of the Duchess in modest dress was not lost on royal observers, coming on the day a French magazine published topless pictures of her from a holiday with her husband.
Classic look: Kate”s appearance at the mosque echoed that of Princess Diana, who displayed a similar sensitivity while visiting mosques in Egypt, above, and Pakistan
Typical magnetism: Princess Diana visited the Egyptian mosque as part of a royal tour in 1002. Left, a year earlier she is all smiles, dressed in an elegant and demure green dress with a black headscarf, as she visits the great Mogul mosque of Badshahi in Lahore during a tour of Pakistan
As the royal couple climbed the steps of the mosque they were met by Imam of the mosque Ustaz Saiful, directorof Islamic religious department Datuk Che Mat Bin Che Ali, chairman of the mosque Syed Abdullah, general manager of facilities Shausudin Ishak and head division development manager Datin Faudziah Ibrahim.
How do you do The Duchess of Cambridge shakes hands with an official as she arrives for the royal couple”s tour of theMalaysian mosque
William first spoke to Datuk Chemat Bin Cheali, saying: “This is our first time in Kuala Lumpur. It”s very nice isn”t it.”
Meanwhile Kate made her way down the line-up, smiling and saying “it”s very nice to meet you” with each member of staff in the greeting lineup. Ms Ibrahim presented the duchesswith a bouquet of flowers.
The couple then sat down to sign the guest book, with Kate giggling to William “I should get this right” before she put pen to paper.
As they were guided in to the main prayer area, both were full of questions.
William was overheard asking “So is this where everyone gathers When is your biggest service How many people gather here” When he was told as up to 12,000 on Fridays, he exclaimed: “Wow. So many!”
Kate spent most of her time talking to Ms Ibrahim. “It”s so peaceful in here,” she commented.
They spoke for a good five or six minutes, starting on the subject of the architecture and calligraphy in the main prayer room. “It”s really amazing,” Kate said.
When Ms Ibrahim mentioned a mosque in Istanbul which was a former church (called the Sophia Mosque), Kate expressed a lot of interest: “Have you been to Istanbul I”d love to go.
“I”ve heard of the Sophia but I”ve never been. You”re lucky to have been twice. I would really love to go some day. It looks amazing.”
When Ms Ibrahim mentioned that she hadbeen to Edinburgh University for her undergrad and masters, Kate said “Oh wow, really Well it”s very cold there compared to here,” and the two both covered their mouths giggling.
They then spoke of Prince Charles” interest in Islamic architecture and how Kate had learned from him.
“Both Kate and William had done their research,” Ms Ibrahim later told reporters. “They knew a lot about Islamic architecture.
“The Duchess really appreciated how everything comes together at the mosque – how we include the architecture, the calligraphy, the comfort and the prayer all in to the one procedure.
“It all links together. She really appreciated that.
“When went to the outer prayer area [which is covered with a glass roof] I explained how we had exposed the skyline to show the Petronas Twin Towers.
“I explained that there is a lot of the senses here and that these elements help those praying focus better and if you are feeling uncomfortable or bored you can look up and see the beautiful towers.
“She laughed when I said that.”
Learning experience: During their tour of the mosque, the first they have visited together, both the prince and his wife were full of questions
Well researched: The duchess spent most of the time during the tour speaking to the mosque”s head division development manager Datin Faudziah Ibrahim
Keen: Both William and Kate were attentive and eager to learn more about the mosque, which had gone under a $10.2million renovation in 2009 to double capacity from 6,000 to 12,000
Discussions: Kate and Miss Ibrahim, right, spoke of Prince Charles” interest in Islamic architecture and how Kate had learned from him
Both William and Kate were attentive and eager to learn more about the mosque, which had gone under a $10.2million renovation in 2009 to double capacity from 6,000 to 12,000.
“Well the fans keep it nice and cool,”William joked with one of the mosque members who pointed out the dozensof fans in the area.
Kate said “it”s all so impressive” while one of the guides told her of their plans for another extension.
Before ending their 20 minute visit, William and Kate watched men of the mosque washing their hands and feet and were explained the meaning behind it.
They then sat down at their original starting point to put their shoes back on and leave. “Mine are easy,” Kate said to William as struggled to get his right foot in.
Modern outlook: The Palace said the royal couplewere keen to visit a mosque as Islam is an important part of UK cultureand the main religion in Malaysia
Glowing: Kate radiated with health during the couple”s visit to the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on their Diamond Jubilee tour
Homework: Miss Ibrahim said she was impressed at how much the Royal couple knew about Islamic architecture
Miss Ibrahim added after their departure: “It was an honour to meet them. I was so impressed at how much they knew about Islamic architecture. They really knew their stuff.
“Catherine asked me so many questions that I struggle to even remember them all now. She really liked it when Ispoke about how families come together during Ramadan.
“I told her that I often have a lot offamily visiting and we will make the most of this area. Do some shopping, go and pray together, then maybe go to the park… She really liked that.
“She said family is very important.
“The Duchess looked beautiful and very appropriate in her outfit. It was a great choice.”
Imam Che Mat Bin Che Ali added: “They were the perfect guests. William said he wished he could stay longer to see the people arriving for the Friday prayers.
“It is one of the busiest days and we usually reach capacity.”
Later on in the day the Duchess met legendary shoe designer Jimmy Choo at a very British tea party in Malaysia.Kate and her husband were invited to the gathering at the British High Commission Residence to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
As guests sipped tea and ate cakes, including miniature scones and cream in the gardens, she was introduced to several guests including Malaysian-born Mr Choo.
Always a gentleman: Prince William hands his wife her shoes and she slips back into them after the conclusion to their mosque tour
Favourites: The Duchess”s trusty LK Bennett nude platform shoes lie tucked under a chair next to her husband”s brogues during their visit to the Assyakirin Mosque
“Fantastic visit”: A left-handed Prince William signs the mosque”s visitors book while his wife seems to be having trouble with her fountain pen
Ritual: Before ending their 20 minute visit, William and Kate watched men of the mosque washing their hands and feet and were explained the meaning behind it
The Assyakirin Mosque in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, with the city”s iconic Petronas towers soaring in the background
The diminutive designer, who no longer has links with the company he created but says he still designs as ‘it is in his blood’ said: ‘I am very proud and delighted to have been invited. She is an absolutely beautiful person both inside and out.Very much like Prince’s William’s mother.’
Mr Choo worked with Diana, Princess of Wales for seven years and said Kate very much reminded him of her.
‘They are both elegant and wear fashion well but most importantly are very caring people inside which is why they appear so beautiful in public,’ he said.
Surprisingly the pair did not discuss shoes at length when they met but talked about the importance of education for young people, an issue Mr Choo is campaigning about on an international level and the duchess takes a keen interest in.
But he admitted that he would love to create for her. ‘Who wouldn’t She is the style icon of her generation,’ he said.
‘She also told me how much she was loving visiting my country which made me very proud indeed.’
The Duke and the Duchess also watched a traditional Malay tea pouring ceremony and were given a gift of some tea specially created by local company BOH to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and their visit called The Diamond Jubilee Blend.
Kate was wearing an ice blue lace dress by Alice Temperley and had her hair pulled back in a bun and held in place with pearl-headed pins.
She appeared determined not to let the strain of the morning’s revelations show, smiling, laughing and chatting without an apparent care in the world – although William at times did appear to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Previously the couple had attended a colourful cultural performance at the Kuala Lumpur Central Park, Kate having shed her veil to show her hair tied back.
Crowd pleasers: The Duke and Duchess are met by crowds of royal fans as they arrive for their walkabout at Kuala Lumpur City Centre park
Exotic: Surrounded by dignitaries and beautifully dressed dancers, the royal couple inch their way past crowds
Pressing the flesh: Kate shakes hands with a well-wisher
Pure: Kate”s simple off white dress stands out in the crowd of suits and dancers dressed in bright colours
Everyone wants a picture: Members of the public train hundreds of cameras on the duke and duchess as they attend a cultural event at the park
Mobbed: Kate looks a little unnerved but her husband keeps smiling as they are surrounded by well-wishers. Crowds of more than 10,000 turned out to catch a glimpse of the royal couple
Over here Kate! Crowds crush up against a barrier hoping to snap the Royal couple as they walk about in Kuala Lumpur”s city centre park
The couple were met by screaming crowds of more than 10,000 at the nearby park, which sits in the shadow of the city”s Petronas Twin Towers – the world”s tallest skyscrapers until they were surpassed by Taipei 101 in 2004.
Families had been waiting in the 30C heat since 7am to meet the Duke and Duchess, and many were squashed up against railings by the heaving mass of people behind them.
They had brought Union flags, flowers, banners saying “Welcome” and “We love you Kate and William”, and some had even written the Duchess letters or brought Royal Wedding magazines for the couple to sign.
Carnival atmosphere: As the duke and duchess wandered around the Kuala Lumpur park they were treated to a colourful cultural performance
Well coiffed: Kate shed her veil on arrival at the city centre park to reveal her hair tied back in an elegant knot
Stroll: Kate and William walked round a circle-shaped area of the park, where they stopped to watch colourful performances by traditional Malaysian musicians, dancers and a fashion show showcasing the work of Malaysian designers
Here, have this: The Duchess of Cambridge meets well-wishers and appears to give away flowers as she walks past the crowds
I want one! The Prince shares a joke with his wife before nabbing one of her beautiful pink roses during a short tour of the central park
Deep in thought: Kate covers her mouth during a walkabout in Kuala Lumpar”s city centre park, left. The Duchess”s trademark tumbling locks were swept up into a 1940s-style up-do for the event, right. The style is sure to be endlessly copied around the world
Another one! The Duchess of Cambridge takes another pink rose from a member of the crowd for her growing bouquet during the walk about in the city centre”s park
School friends Ella Morris, seven, Amelia Thesiger, seven, and her sister Izzy, 10, who all go to International Alice Smith School, spoke to Kate. The duchess asked them:”Are you squashed”
Amelia and Izzy”s mother Jo Thesiger said: “We got down here early because the girls were so exited to see them.
“She was so lovely in the flesh, really pretty.”
The couple walked round a circle-shaped area of the park, where they stopped to watch colourful performances by traditional Malaysian musicians, dancers and a fashion show showcasing the work of Malaysian designers.
Katesaid of one musician playing a string instrument: “They must have really strong fingers.” Turning to William she said: “You should have a go”, but the Duke declined to join in.
Hot wheels: Having toured the city centre”s park William and Kate are driven to their next event in a smart red open sided car
Phew, what a scorcher: The Duchess of Cambridge fans herself in the searing heat while her husband waves to the crowds during their visit to the mosque
Showcase: The couple walked round a circle-shaped area of the park, where they stopped to watch colourful performances by traditional Malaysian musicians, dancers and a fashion show showcasing the work of Malaysian designers
The British contingent: Ex-pats advertise their presence with Union flag umbrellas as they await the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Royal duties: Prince William eagerly shakes hands with well-wishers fans snap photos in their mobile phones and pocket cameras
Ready for her close up: Kate beams into the lens of a camera as fans jostle to snap a memento of the day the Duchess came to visit
Ontheir way round they made a beeline for a girl with a Welsh flag. Elin Howells, 14, is originally from Anglesey but has lived in Kuala Lumpur with her parents Chris and Fiona for eight years.
Shewas so excited to see the royal couple she was shaking after their meeting. “They saw my flag and came over and said “Bore Da” which is “Good Morning” in Welsh,” she said.
“They asked us which part of Wales we were from and when we said Anglesey they said “Oh, the same place as us”.
“It was unbelievable to see them, they were so lovely.”
Thecouple also stopped to talk to a group of expats including Lynn Maitland, 40, originally from Aberdeen. “They were asking us who we were and we told them we”re expat wives,” Mrs Maitland said.
“William said, “I like it that your husbands are all at work and you are here”.
“I was surprised at how tall he was in the flesh. Kate was beautiful. She said she was finding it awfully hot.”
Parade: The Duchess of Cambridge waves to the crowds during a walkabout of the city centre park
Urban: The park sits in the shadow of Kuala Lumpur”s famous Petronas Twin Towers which were, until 2004, the world”s tallest skyscrapers
Flowers for a princess: At the end of the walkabout, Kate is handed a bouquet of flowers by children, including two girl guides
Lost in the crowd: Kate and Wills share a joke while they walk past a group of dancers during their tour of the city centre park
At the end of the walkabout the Duke and Duchess were presented with flowers from children including two girl guides.
Cerys Howells, 10, said: “I gave Kate a scarf and she said I could keep it.
“When I said it was for her she asked me if I had a spare and when I said I did she said “Thank you very much”.”
Later there was a security incident when a local Malay fan tried to get into the couple”s car to take a picture of them as they prepared to leave the park. The man was bundled away by police and handcuffed.
The royal couple then attended a business lunch at a nearby conference centre for some of Malaysia’s leading figures.
In a speech the Duke praised the Queen’s 60-year reign: “Her dedication has been extraordinary to all her realms and to the Commonwealth, of which Malaysia is such an influential member.
“My grandmother told me that Malaysia would provide us with some wonderful experiences and unforgettable memories and so indeed it’s proved. Over these three days here in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah, we’re getting to learn more of the different cultures that make up this great nation and seeing for ourselves something of the fabulous natural heritage of this land.
“We would like to thank the Malaysian people for giving us this marvellous opportunity.”
He went on to highlight the strong business links between the UK and Malaysia, mentioning some of the British projects firms from the Commonwealth country have invested in like a Malaysian business which is planning to redevelop the Battersea Power station site.