8 JULY 2008

There was a visual feast for royal guests at London's Hampton Court Palace where the colourful sights and sounds of Thailand provided the inspiration for one display at the annual flower show.

Among those enjoying the exotic experience at the 14th century riverside palace - which was Henry VIII's favourite residence - were Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The centrepiece was an authentic floating food market, which had been re-created for the first time outside the Asian country.

Some 15 boats bobbed along the palace's formal Long Water canal laden with goods such as food, herbs, hats and silks, while a Thai house facade set up for the occasion added to the traditional atmosphere.

The Kents, who recently celebrated 30 years of marriage, took a leisurely stroll along the banks and ended up being tempted by some items on offer. In particular, Princess Michael's eye was caught by an umbrella and a flower garland, which she snapped up to take home with her.

Photo: ©
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were among VIP guests captivated by an unusually exotic display at the historic palace's annual flower show Photo: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
The Thai tourist board had provided 15 boats to re-create the atmosphere of a traditional market, while ladies in traditional costume provided musicial entertainment Photo: © Getty Images