Duchess of Cambridge to pick up new shoes during Leicester visit
The Duchess of Cambridge will pick a new pair of shoes designed by a De Montfort University student when she visits Leicester next week.
Along with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Kate will be meeting staff and students at the university during the royal visit to Leicester on March 8, the first date of the Diamond Jubilee tour.
The royal party will also attend a service at Leicester Cathedral and watch street performances near the Clock Tower, it was revealed today. After arriving in the city they will travel to Magazine Square, at the university, where they will be greeted by about 8,000 people.
While the Queen and the Duchess watch a fashion show, featuring designs by four of the university's 2011 graduates, Prince Philip will be meeting staff and students involved in the university's Square Mile Project, which aims to improve the lives of people living in Fosse Road North, Tudor Road, Woodgate and Newfoundpool.
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Gifts will be given to each member of the royal party, with Kate being presented with six sketches of shoes created by students on the university's renowned footwear design course.
The Duchess will pick her favourite on the day, and the winning design will then be made just for her.
Students whose creations are in the running said it would be "incredible" to design a pair of shoes for one of the most photographed women in the world.
Tabitha Duffield, 21, who lives in the city centre, has sketched a pair of classic nude and pink heels which she thinks would suit Kate's style perfectly. She said: "I wanted something feminine and elegant to reflect her personality. There will be laser-cut flowers and fringing round the edges.
"It's so exciting, everyone loves Kate, especially after the royal wedding and that dress. She's in touch with high street fashion as well, which is appealing to a lot of people.
"All the designs are really good so I don't want to get my hopes up.
"It would mean the world if she chose my design. The fact this competition has even come our way is amazing."
Mei Chun Lai, 21, who also lives in the city centre, has based her orange and blue design on Chinese lanterns.
She said: "Kate's style is really elegant but I think she might choose something a bit different with this, maybe."
The Queen will be presented with a picture of a Corgi drawn by a primary school student, who will be selected from one of the schools in the university's Square Mile Project area, in a competition judged by celebrated artist Sir Peter Blake.
She will also receive a headscarf designed by a De Montfort University textiles student.
The Duke of Edinburgh will be a given a lenticular – a 3D image – of himself driving a horse and carriage.
Her Majesty will also be asked to unveil a commemorative plaque in Magazine Square.
De Montfort University vice-chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard said the level of excitement about the visit was "almost indescribable".
He said: "It's a historic occasion and for our university to be part of that moment is just fantastic. We're absolutely delighted. We've known for about three weeks. To put an event together in this time brings a degree of pressure and responsibility but also a massive amount of fun and excitement."
Prof Shellard said many people had asked how they could meet Kate.
"She's a new type of royal and a recent graduate herself, she understands student life," he said. "She's also clearly one half of a very happy couple and she's a global fashion icon.''
After unveiling a plaque at the university to commemorate their visit, the royal party will be joined by hundreds of people for a service of Christian worship at the Cathedral.
They will have lunch at St Martins House, where they will be waited on by students from Leicester College and Brooksby Melton College.
Outside, the party will meet scouts, guides and children from local schools, and watch entertainment by the Zimbabwean Women's Choir, Kibworth Brass Band and Sikh Dohl Drummers.
The Very Rev Vivienne Faull, Dean of Leicester, said: "This will be the first Jubilee visit, and the first visit by the Queen to our Cathedral.
"It will be a profound privilege to lead worship with many faiths gathered in the presence of Her Majesty as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee."
The royal party will then move on to the Clock Tower, where they will be welcomed to the city centre by City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby. He will also present the Queen with a gift, although details of this have been kept under wraps.
Sir Peter said: "It is a great honour for Leicester to be the first stop on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour.
"The eyes of nation and the world will be upon our city, and I am confident that between the city council, the Cathedral and De Montfort University we will give the royal party an outstanding welcome that the whole city can be proud of.
"I hope that people from across the county will come to the city centre to share in our celebrations and to mark this historic event."
For more information on the Diamond Jubilee tour, visit:
Alternatively, follow @jubileetour on Twitter and use the hashtag #jubileetour