"I'd just like to say how delicious lunch was, but I was delighted to see that durian wasn't on the menu."
The future king and his wife Catherine were served durian, revered in the region as the “king of fruits”, during a welcome lunch with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak after their arrival yesterday for a three-day visit.
But during a lunch today with business executives in the capital Kuala Lumpur, he quipped: “I’d just like to say how delicious lunch was, but I was delighted to see that durian wasn’t on the menu.”
“Having tasted it yesterday, I feared for the safety of the people I met thereafter,” he said, causing the crowd of more than 1,000 business figures to erupt in laughter.
Durian is popular in Malaysia and neighbouring countries, where it is prized for its distinctive flavour. But many are disgusted by its powerful odour and the fruit is banned from various venues and some public transportation in the region.
Britain’s younger royals are touring the globe throughout 2012 as part of celebrations marking the 60-year reign of William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
They are now on a nine-day trip that started in Singapore and will move on this weekend to the Solomon Islands and later Tuvalu.
However, a French magazine saying it would publish topless photos of Catherine has threatened to sully the tour.
The couple were “saddened” by the report, a royal source travelling with them told AFP today.