08/03/2012 07:31 GMT | Updated 09/03/2012 13:48 GMT

Queen Diamond Jubilee Tour: Kate And The Queen Visit Leicester (PICTURES)

Cheering crowds got the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK off to a colourful start as Leicester had the honour of being the first city to welcome Her Majesty and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Accompanied by Prince William's wife Kate, the Queen attended a fashion parade at De Montfort University where she was wowed by music, dance troupes and costumes.

Crowds, which had already gathered at the clock tower and cathedral by early morning, vyed for a glimpse of the royal party, who eventually descended on Leicester on Thursday morning.

Many of the hundreds gathered were students but local schoolchildren made sure they would be noticed by patriotically waving Union flags.

Wearing a pink dress and coat, and clutching a pink bear, Danielle, who had been allowed to take the day off school to see the royal party today, was unexpectedly pulled from the crowd to give her flowers to the Queen and Kate when they arrived.

Seven-year-old Danielle Mann, from Leicester, presented Kate with a red rose for Prince William and bunches of carnations for herself, the Queen and the Duke.

The schoolgirl said she thought Kate was "very pretty" and she was "excited to meet her".

The Queen, who travelled by train with the Duke of Edinburgh and her granddaughter-in-law, viewed stalls highlighting local projects and charities.

The Queen and Kate both watched a student fashion parade at the university, put on by six students and was presented with a tailor-made design for a pair of shoes by each of the students. Kate was then asked to decide which pair was her favourite, giving one lucky designer a kick-start to their career.

Winning designer Becka Hunt, 20, said she could not believe her shoes will now be made for Kate.

She said: "I really just can't believe it. I'm overwhelmed.

"She came over and said she loved all the designs. I cannot believe I've been chosen."

Miss Hunt said her design was inspired by 19th century elegance and the blue colour was taken from the Duchess's engagement ring.

But while the women were preoccupied with fashion, Philip viewed the Square Mile project - De Montfort University's programme to help improve the life and surroundings of the local community.

The royal party then visited Leicester Cathedral to attend a service of Christian worship with participation from other faiths.

The Queen, the Duke and Kate, who donned a suit by LK Bennett, a hat by James Lock, and Episode shoes, also witnessed a performance on a theme of the Holi Festival, entitled 60 Colours.

Before the visit, Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: "I am very proud that Leicester will be the first stop on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour.

"Leicester has an excellent reputation for hosting celebrations and I am confident we will give the royal party a day to remember."

The Diamond Jubilee tour will take the Queen and Duke from the Isle of Wight to Birmingham, and from Merthyr Tydfil to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The royal couple will travel around the country from March to July, by a range of means - car, royal train, aircraft and the ship Leander.

The tour will finish on July 25 in the South East of England.