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Thousands greet William, Kate in Solomons

21:51 Sun Sep 16 2012
AAP
The cover of the controversial magazine.
The cover of the controversial magazine.

Standing atop a painted canoe on the back of an open top Toyota, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were welcomed by tens of thousands of screaming islanders as they were driven along the main road into Honiara.

PHOTOS: The most shocking royal scandals

It was a typical islander reception for the rock star royals - warm, loud, hot and off-beat.

The Solomon Islands might be the smallest destination so far on Kate and William's Diamond Jubilee tour of the region, but it was by far the biggest turn out.

Locals from far and wide used buses, cars, taxis and their feet to grab a vantage point along the eight kilometre stretch from the airport to a cathedral in the heart of town.

A world away, lawyers for the couple are preparing to go to a French court on Monday against French magazine Closer, the first to publish long-lens pictures of Kate sunbathing topless.

The British royal family is facing a multinational battle to contain the spread of the photos of Kate holidaying with William at a relative's private estate in southern France last month.

The photos have since appeared in Saturday's Irish Daily Star and Italian gossip magazine Chi is planning to devote 26 pages to the grainy paparazzi shots in a special issue on Monday.

But the couple put on a brave face as they smiled and waved at the sea of faces and hands, vibrant clothes and waving British flags.

"Welkam Prince William and your Princess," one banner read.

Kids jumped and screamed from car roofs while a throng of people, at times up to 20 rows deep, cheered and clapped as the couple travelled past.

Kate wore an above the knee, green and turquoise dress with her hair held into place by a delicate cream hat.

Dozens of warriors armed with spears, arrows and axes closed in on the couple as they stepped off their private silver jet onto a red carpet on the tarmac.

The intimidating welcome ceremony, known as the Tukuwaka, means "the canoe is allowed in".

The couple were then given garlands of flowers for their necks while the dancing warriors, decked out in paint and beads made of seeds, played a tune with pan pipes to the beat of drums.

"When you had come to our place in earlier times you would have been killed and eaten, but not today, of course," said Father Henry Teho.

"They learn about William at school and celebrate the Queen, and he is more popular because of the fact that he was the son of Diana, who was very popular."

In the background, heavy rain clouds gathered over the Leunga Mountains, the scene of fierce fighting in World War II, as the couple climbed onto a platform decorated with shells under a thatched arch attached to a Toyota.

The platform, which took two weeks to build, was shaped around the car into the form of canoe, painted as if on the sea.

The route into town was dotted with thatched wooden bungalows on stilts and packed roadside stalls.

After a church service, William and Kate were off to a traditional state dinner.