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William and Kate jet off on royal honeymoon

08:30 Wed May 11 2011
MSN NZ
Kate and William. (AAP)

Newlywed royals Prince William and Catherine Middleton have begun their honeymoon at a secret island hideaway in the Indian Ocean that reportedly costs $8000 a night.

PHOTOS: World's worst celebrity honeymoons

St James' Palace has confirmed the couple have embarked on their honeymoon but refused to reveal where Prince William, 28, and his bride Catherine, 29, will spend the next two weeks.

However, a spokeswoman for Seychelles department of tourism told the Telegraph the royal couple landed at the main airport at 7.20am local time and then flew by helicopter to a private island, the name of which was not confirmed.

LONELY PLANET GUIDE: Seychelles

They are expected to spend 10 days in a secluded villa, with a personal butler and chef, according to the Daily Mail.

It is understood not even Kate was told the exact location of their getaway until the last minute, more than a week after the couple married at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

PHOTOS: Kate's dress

The palace refused to be drawn on speculation over William and Catherine's whereabouts.

"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," a palace spokesman said.

"The couple have asked that their privacy be respected during their honeymoon."

William and Catherine chose not to honeymoon immediately following their wedding, that was watched by a global television and online audience of more than two billion people

Instead, the couple spent a weekend at an undisclosed UK location before returning to their Wales home where the prince went back to work as an air force search and rescue helicopter pilot.

Speculation has been rife about where the university sweethearts would honeymoon, with popular rumoured locations including Jordan, where Catherine spent time as a child; Africa, where William proposed, and even Queensland's exclusive Lizard Island.

The Seychelles is a group of more than 100 islands in the western Indian Ocean, nestled between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator, and an "insider" told the Daily Mirror newspaper the couple has chosen an island available for private hire in an eco-haven area, where snorkeling and kayaking are encouraged but jet skis are banned.

William and Catherine had a week-long break in August 2007 on the tiny island of Desroches, about 240km southwest of the Seychelles' main island, Mahe.

It was reported that William told islanders the Desroches trip was the best holiday he had ever had.

The Seychelles treats visitors to white-sand beaches, seclusion and daily temperatures averaging between 24-32 degrees, and is a setting "most honeymooners can only dream about", British travel writer Peter Woodman says.

The honeymoon is the first test of the British media's behaviour towards the couple, with the palace warning it will take action against news outlets if they pursue the newlyweds.

The delayed honeymoon appeared to be an attempt at throwing the media off their trail amid fears that photographers would pursue the couple wherever they chose to spend their holiday.

The prince said he enjoyed outfoxing the media after his stag weekend was held in total privacy.

Royal watchers say he has an inherent hatred of paparazzi following the death of his mother Diana, princess of Wales, who was killed in a car crash in 1997 as she was being pursued through Paris by photographers.

The two-week honeymoon will be a test of Britain's newspapers as to whether they obtain — and use — pictures of the couple, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

It comes amid public debate in Britain over press freedom and privacy rights, with newspapers in a fury over super-injunctions which prevent them from publishing stories about celebrities' private lives.

(Read more: Racy photo of Pippa emerges)

News of the honeymoon also comes after tabloid newspapers published photographs of Catherine's sister Pippa Middleton relaxing on a yacht in a bikini.

PHOTOS: Pippa's popularity skyrockets

The Middleton family have gone to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), the voluntary regulatory body which oversees Britain's newspapers, about the images printed on Sunday and Monday.

Taken in 2006, the pictures showed William, Catherine, her sister and their mother Carole in swimwear on board a private yacht moored off the Spanish party island of Ibiza.

The News of the World showed Pippa Middleton topless.

A PCC spokesman told AFP: "I can confirm that we've now received complaints from representatives of the Middleton family concerning photographs that were published in the News of the World, The Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror and that we're now considering those complaints."

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