The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are set to receive the highest order from the island nation of Tuvalu.
The Order of Merit of Tuvalu is a newly created award independent of the awards that Britain presents twice a year. The Order of Merit was created last year and is awarded by The Queen on the advice of her Tuvaluan government ministers.
Prince William and Catherine were awarded the honour last October on Tuvalu’s National Day, but it wasn’t widely reported at the time.
Dr Iftikhar Ayaz, Tuvalu’s Honorary Consul in London, told the Express that the Cambridges had received the Order of Merit because of their successful tour of the country in 2012.
“Whenever they have been reminded about it, they have expressed great affection and love for the country,” Dr Ayaz said.
As part of the year-long celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured South East Asia: Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
The couple visited Tuvalu from 18-19 September. They toured around Funafuti Island and saw a tree that The Queen planted in 1982, watched local sporting events, and enjoyed a traditional state banquet dinner hosted by the Tuvaluan Governor-General.
“They had a lovely time there,” said Dr. Ayaz. “They will remember that visit for a very long time.”
At the state banquet dinner, Prince William told the assembled guests, “Your wonderful welcome has to be the most original and quite literally uplifting ever. We will both remember it and the joy and happiness of what has followed for the rest of our lives.”
Dr Ayaz says he hopes that the royal couple will be invested with their orders soon, in a ceremony at a London hotel or at the Commonwealth Secretariat offices.
“I have written to the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, asking if he will present the Duke and Duchess with the medals.”
A Kensington Palace official has confirmed that Prince William and Catherine are honoured to be receiving the Tuvalu Order of Merit.