Britain’s newly married Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, have left the island nation of the Seychelles after a 10-day honeymoon, officials said Saturday.
“They left happy and clearly content with their stay,” said the head of the Seychelles tourism board, Alain St Ange, who saw the couple leave Friday.
William’s office at St. James’s Palace confirmed the couple had returned to Britain.
The palace said the couple “thoroughly enjoyed their time together, and they are grateful to the Seychelles government for their assistance in making the honeymoon such a memorable and special 10 days.”
The island nation’s foreign minister said the nation was proud to host the couple.
“The people of Seychelles are truly honored that Prince William and his wife chose to return to Seychelles for this special holiday and we are proud to have been able to offer them a peaceful and private getaway,” Jean-Paul Adam said in a statement released by the government.
The string of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) off the eastern coast of Kenya is known for its sandy beaches, clear waters and secluded hideaways.
“We hope their stay was everything they had hoped for and we look forward to welcoming them back to our shores again in the future,” Adam said.
The Seychelles coast guard helped ensure the couple’s privacy as they stayed on North Island. On their last day the royal couple invited the coast guard ashore to personally thank them for their efforts.
North Island in the Seychelles, where the royal newlyweds celebrated their honeymooning, is the paragon of tropical island escapes – the Christian Louboutin of what travel types call barefoot luxury.
At £1,957 per person per night – the average honeymoon for two people costs £3,220 – the stylish resort attracts the super-rich, City whizzkids and A-list celebrities including Liz Hurley, Jennifer Aniston, Pierce Brosnan and JK Rowling. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are rumoured to have plans to exchange wedding vows on one of its two beaches.
Should you wish to reserve all 11 villas, ensuring privacy rather than paparazzi, the tiny granitic speck washed by the emerald shallows of the Indian Ocean will cost £43,000 – a remarkable flourish to what had been dubbed the austerity wedding.
For the considerable outlay, visitors to the fecund island of three small peaks and two white powder beaches stay in huge two-bedroom, butler-serviced villas of 4,843 square feet (450 sq m) made by Balinese thatchers and Tanzanian wood carvers. They have indoor and outdoor showers, staggeringly large bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows opening on to decks with private gazebos and plunge pools. Each villa has an electric golf buggy to nip around the sandy tracks.
At 8,000 square feet, Villa 11 claims to be one of the world’s ultimate beach huts with a circular-flow swimming pool, cinema lounge and multiple levels cascading down the boulders to the sand. The resort’s public areas, designed by the renowned safari camp architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, use upturned sun-bleached takamaka trees to create Daliesque columns for open-sided rooms containing rectangular reflection pools, sunken sofas and screens of roped coral.
The choice of the hyper-fashionable if slightly cliched honeymoon suggests the royal couple not only have a less stuffy idea of romance than his parents but also enjoy a more equal relationship. Charles and Diana’s post-wedding travels in 1981 took in Broadlands in Hampshire, the family home of the Mountbattens, followed by a Mediterranean cruise on the royal yacht and a visit to Balmoral with his family – which suggests Charles called the shots rather than his younger bride. Whether North Island will be such an aphrodisiac is another question. William was born in 1982, eight months after his parents returned.