Crowds turn out for Queen and Kate at launch of jubilee tour

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Thousands of royal well-wishers brought a city centre to a standstill today as the Queen began her Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK with the Duchess of Cambridge.

Everywhere the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Kate went in the centre of Leicester they were greeted by huge crowds of cheering, flag-waving people.

The Duchess told one woman she was missing William “terribly” during one walkabout as hundreds clamoured to shake her hand.

Kate looked relaxed as she chatted with her grandmother-in-law who also appeared to be enjoying meeting the crowds.

Many of those closest to the barriers had arrived early in the morning to secure the best spot.

Laura Murphy, 30, waited for seven hours before she managed to shake hands with the Duchess and ask her “how’s William?”.

The physiotherapist, who was wearing a plastic Union flag cowboy hat, said Kate replied: “He’s fine – I’m missing him terribly.”

She said the Duchess told her she was “being well looked after” in the absence of her husband, who is serving in the Falklands.

Their first destination was De Montfort University, where hundreds of students and other members of the public clamoured to get photographs and shake hands. Inside, the two royal women were even cheered as they walked into a fashion show.

After leaving the university, the royal party moved on to Leicester Cathedral where they were greeted by around 5,000 people.

Around 700 people were inside for the service, which was described by cathedral staff as a Christian act of worship with multi-faith elements.

The final part of the visit saw the biggest crowds as thousands of people blocked off the shopping streets in the centre of the city to try to get a glimpse of the two royal women.