The Duchess of Cambridge confessed tonight that she had been “nervous” about giving her first speech on foreign soil.
Kate had addressed staff and supporters of a Malaysian hospice earlier in the day praising institutions that provide care and support to the terminally ill.
She had appeared relaxed during the address and although she spoke slowly was in far greater control of her nerves than her first public speech in March.
The Duchess’ admission came as she and the Duke attended a lavish dinner thrown by the head of state of Malaysia.
Kate and her husband William, on a Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East, were guests at the opulent Istana Negara Palace in Kuala Lumpur at the start of a four-day visit to the Commonwealth country.
At one point she was asked about her speech and replied: “I was so nervous and I am very glad that it is over with.”
During the speech Kate described the centres that care and support the terminally ill as “life changing”.
Kate’s words of praise were given as she visited Hospis Malaysia, one of only a handful of medical institutions in the Commonwealth country providing invaluable support for dying patients.
William and staff and supporters from the institution based in Kuala Lumpur listened as the Duchess highlighted how she had learnt the importance of palliative care through her role as patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.
Speaking slowly but clearly through a PA system she said: “Through this patronage, I have learnt that delivering the best possible palliative care to children is vital.
“Providing children and their families with a place of support, care and enhancement at a time of great need is simply life changing.”
The dinner was a glittering occasion with the Duchess looking every inch the fairytale princess. In line with religious protocol Kate kept the tops of her arms covered and wore a floor-length dress.
But she still stood out – not just because of her exquisitely embroidered white Alexander McQueen dress, which featured the Malaysian flower, hibiscus, in gold detail – but because she towered over her hosts in four inch satin heels.
The couple were guests of Malaysia’s King the Agong, and his wife Queen Raja Persaisuri Agong.
The king’s full title translates as He Who Is Made Lord, Paramount Ruler or His Conqueror Majesty the Supreme Lord of the Federation.
The couple were first invited to sign a visitors’ book before walking into the heavily brocaded Seri Mahkota Hall or audience room.
As they waited for their hosts to arrive William and Kate chatted with Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor.
Kate spoke admiringly of the opulent palace, saying: “It is beautiful, those chandeliers are wonderful. It’s amazing.”
The Duchess also referred to a stunning display of fruit offered to the royal couple earlier in the day. “We certainly didn’t expect that, it was a real shock to us,” she laughed.
Admiring the ladies’ outfits, William joked: “I’ve got my heels on tonight”, then told the prime minister: “I’m tired. It’s the jet lag that is hardest.”
He added: “We go on from here to the Solomon Islands and then Tuvalu, have you ever been there? Me neither.
“Tuvalu is one of the smallest and most remote places on earth. We hope to do some fishing and snorkelling. I am very interested in the coral and whale sharks. I have dived with them before and although they are huge, they are very docile creatures – not like Jaws.’
When the king and queen arrived, Kate elegantly offered each of them a low curtsey.
William proceeded to chat with the king while Kate stooped as she exchanged pleasantries with his wife.
After a few minutes of polite chat they moved on to another room where they posed for a group photograph and the Duke and Duchess received gifts.
For William there was a gold-encrusted Malay warrior’s sword known as a kris and for Kate there was a pair of black lace peep toe shoes by the Malaysian equivalent of Jimmy Choo called Lewre with a glittering diamante clutch bag and a Batik dress.
There was also a collage of photographs of the elderly king and queen.
The 400 other guests walked into the Deuan Santapan Negara or Royal Banqueting Hall ahead of them, the circular tables laid our around a dais upon which a table for the royal party was laid out.
The Duke and Duchess will spend the next two days in Kuala Lumpur before moving onto Borneo for the next stage of their Diamond Jubilee tour.