The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at Henderson International Airport in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands to be greeted by a tukuwaka, or welcome ceremony, performed by traditional warriors in grass skirts and body paint, bearing spears, clubs and bows and arrows.
Then the couple boarded a “war canoe”, the traditional method by which important visitors are carried onto the island. Instead of being a hollowed-out log, the 21st century version was a Toyota flat-bed truck decorated like a carnival float to look like a canoe, with the couple standing in the cargo bay under a rickety-looking roof made of rushes.
Their arrival caused such a stir that more than 60,000 people lined the short route from the airport into the centre of Honiara. Local police said an influx of people from neghbouring islands meant the crowd which turned out to greet the couple was larger than the entire population of the main island, Guadalcanal, and the couple were clearly enjoying the raucous welcome, waving and smiling constantly as their “canoe” made its stately progress towards the capital’s cathedral for a Diamond Jubilee service of thanksgiving.