JUBILEE TOUR: Deafening cheers greet Kate and the Queen at De Montfort University Leicester
Kate-mania hit Leicester yesterday as thousands of people gathered to see the present and a future queen.
The Duchess of Cambridge was greeted by deafening cheers from crowds as she toured De Montfort University with the Queen and Prince Philip.
It was a day to remember for everyone there – but especially footwear design student Becka Hunt.
A royal blue and lace shoe designed by the 20-year-old was chosen by Kate to be made into a pair for her to keep.
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Becka, of Stoneygate, Leicester, was overcome with emotion after being told her shoes would be worn by one of the most photographed women in the world.
"I'm in shock," she said, tearfully. "There's really no bigger person I could design for.
"I'd like to see her wearing them at a royal engagement, but anywhere, really, would be good. It's just incredible."
Hundreds of people gathered to meet the royal party in De Montfort Square.
Fashion student Polly Shelton had a front-row seat outside and managed to speak to Kate.
In a remarkable role reversal, the 21-year-old, who lives in Leicester's West End, found herself offering beauty tips to the Duchess.
Barely able to contain her excitement, she said: "Kate spoke to me, I can't believe it. I saw the Queen and when Kate approached I said 'Kate! You look gorgeous!'.
"She said 'Thank you very much – I like your lipstick, what is it?'
"I told her it was Mac, Lady Danger.
"She's a style icon, isn't she? I'm going to wear it all the time now."
Polly and her friends, Kate Howard, 21, and Gemma Lawton, 19, had camped outside the university from 5am.
Kate, who also studies fashion, said: "We made a real day of it. It was such a special occasion and absolutely worth the wait.
"Mind you, when Kate was talking to Polly I had to hold her up. I thought she was going to faint!"
Harvey Shaw, three, of the West End, was acknowledged by the Queen as he sat on dad Chris' shoulders to get a good view.
"When she came by she looked up at me and waved so I waved back," he said. "She looked very nice in pink."
Also in the crowd was Inderpal Kohli, 80, of Kirkby Mallory.
He met the Queen when she was on holiday with Prince Philip in Kenya days before her father's death in February 1952.
Inderpal, who settled in Leicestershire in 1972, said: "I was working in my grandfather's grocery shop in Londiani.
"It made a big impression on me and it was not long afterwards she had to fly back to Britain after her father, George VI, died.
"It was strange to see her again yesterday."
After watching dances and listening to the university's gospel choir, the royals were taken inside the Hugh Aston building, where they were introduced to workers from local projects and charities.
The Queen and the Duchess were shown a graduate student fashion show, while the Duke of Edinburgh met staff and students involved in the university's Square Mile Project, which aims to improve the lives of people in the area.
The fashion designers said they were honoured to be a part of the big day.
Ume Patel, 22, of Evington, said: "I can't quite believe it all happened.
"They were both really polite and they really looked at our collections in detail.
"I asked the Queen if she enjoyed it and she said 'very much.'
"I think she looked incredible in pink, and the Duchess looked beautiful, as always."
The Queen was then presented with gifts – a picture of a corgi drawn by 10-year-old Chelsie White and a headscarf and a shawl made by university students.
Chelsie, of Newfoundpool, Leicester, said: "She said it was good and that she'd put it up at the palace.
"Kate asked if I enjoyed art and I said 'yes'."
Student Sophie Bowden, 20, of Leicester's West End designed the headscarf.
She said: "The Queen was really smiley and very calm and collected. It was amazing."
Before they left for Leicester Cathedral, the Queen unveiled a plaque to commemorate the visit. She and the Duchess were presented with posies by Ajay Pyatt, five, and Evie Brooks, eight.
Professor Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor of the university, said: "Today was absolutely momentous. There is no other word for it."
*Don't miss the 24-page souvenir edition picture special in Saturday's Mercury.