London, May 28: British newspapers have splashed honeymoon pictures of Prince William and his newly-wed wife Kate Middleton, enjoying their honeymoon in the Seychelles.
The photographs were taken during their 10-day stay on North Island.
The couple flew to the Seychelles on May 9 by private jet after spending the week after the royal wedding at their home in Anglesey, north Wales. After arriving on Mahe, the main island, they travelled by helicopter to North Island, accompanied by Royal protection officers.
They stayed in a small but luxurious palm thatched villa which opened on to a private beach, and spent their days indulging in their passion for scuba diving in the nearby coral reefs. They also went on a fishing trip.
The villas have marble baths, plunge pools and an open-air area, and staff are on hand to attend to the guests' every need. The newlyweds dined alone in the villa for most of they stay, having gourmet food cooked to order by a Dorchester-trained chef and rarely visiting the island's exclusive restaurant.
A source said: “There are no menus. Whatever the guest wants the guest gets. But they were not doing the royalty thing, they were having a normal life.”
Alain St Ange, head of the Seychelles Tourist Board, saw off the couple as they departed. He said: “We are happy that the Royal family consider the Seychelles a friendly country where they can come and be themselves.
“It was planned weeks before. Nobody created a fuss with them coming — that's the whole beauty of it. After a wedding seen by the whole world, they needed to find a place to be themselves.”
At the airport, the Duke of Cambridge enthused about the island's pristine waters. “They spoke about diving, he is quite a proficient diver and he said he enjoyed that off North,” Mr St Ange said. “[The Duchess of Cambridge] just said that they were really happy that they had time together.”
North Island is a former fruit plantation that has been restored to its natural state.
It has won renown as an eco-tourism destination and is run by Wilderness Safaris, a South African tour operator that prides itself on discretion. Celebrities are routinely booked in under false names so that even the staff are unaware who is visiting.
Celebrities who have stayed there included David Beckham, the footballer, and his wife Victoria, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the Hollywood couple. The Duke of Cambridge's uncle, the Duke of York, has also stayed on the island.
Asked about the existence of the photographs, a St James's Palace spokesman said: “The couple had a reasonable expectation of privacy during their honeymoon and we would ask that all media organisations respect that.
“We would ask that no pictures of the couple be printed, regardless of the circumstances in which they were taken.”