Royal honeymoon begins for Prince William, Kate


Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, have left for a honeymoon at an undisclosed location, palace officials said Tuesday, declining to elaborate on where or for how long. They also requested the young couple's privacy be respected during that time.

British media widely reported they had jetted off to the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. William has two weeks leave from his job as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, but palace officials would not say if the newlyweds will be away the entire two weeks.

After the media blitz surrounding their April 29 wedding at Westminster Abbey, the couple made it clear they'd like to be left alone by photographers. Still, their decision to delay a honeymoon surprised many. While William went back to work, Middleton -- now known as the Duchess of Cambridge -- was snapped by photographers grocery shopping near the couple's home on the remote Welsh island of Angelsey.

The idea of a Seychelles getaway gained traction when the Hamburg, Germany-based real estate mogul Farhad Vladi told the Hamburger Abendblatt daily he had rented the North Island in the Seychelles chain to the Windsors.

"Yes, we rented the island to the British royal family," Vladi told the paper. "Prince William and his Kate are spending their honeymoon there. But you will understand that we are not saying anything further."

The Seychelles are made up of 115 islands about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) east of the Kenyan coast. A popular luxury destination, it lies outside the cyclone belt, so severe storms are rare, adding to its appeal.

Vladi is the owner of Vladi Private Islands, a company that owns many exclusive, lush islands in beautiful and remote locations. North Island is among the most isolated of the dozens of islands that Vladi rents, with ivory white sand beaches rimmed with deep turquoise waters.

A company spokeswoman on Tuesday refused to give out any details of the honeymoon until it was over.

Srdjana Janosevic, the press secretary for the Seychelles' president, had no confirmation Tuesday that the royal couple had arrived or planned to vacation, but noted they have visited the Seychelles before.

"Anyone who comes back and continues to enjoy the island, it just shows that it's a very desirable tourist destination," Janosevic said. "Everyone would be happy if they are here."

The Seychelles has about 90,000 people. While the British media feature constant stories on the royals, a top headline Tuesday in the Seychelles Nation newspaper was about an increase in pork and chicken production. The top local topic is the country's May 19-21 presidential election, where President James Michel faces three challengers.

If they are in the Seychelles, it will be East Africa's second connection to the royal wedding. William proposed to Kate last October in a rustic log cabin on the slopes of Kenya's highest peak, Mount Kenya.

Both Kenya and the Seychelles are former British colonies.

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