The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived 40 minutes late into New York City for the start of their three-day visit, but that did not put off crowds of fans who had gathered outside their exclusive hotel.

The couple were greeted with cheers, screams and waves from around 200 well-wishers, who gathered on street corners in temperatures of 2C to welcome the royal visitors on their first trip to the Big Apple.

Wearing a maroon coat from British maternity brand Seraphine, Kate, who is five months' pregnant with her second child, beamed at her husband and the well-wishers as she emerged from the couple's four by four vehicle.

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William and Kate, both 32, travelled with their private secretaries, senior adviser Sir David Manning, a personal assistant and a hairdresser - paid for privately by the Cambridges.

They flew first class on British Airways into John F Kennedy International airport and are staying at the exclusive Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.

Fans of the royal couple gathered outside their Manhattan hotel Credit: Reuters

A favourite of William's mother Diana, Princess of Wales, room prices start at £600 for a stay this week and the top suite is around £10,000 a night.

As they walked into the hotel Kate and William, both 32, shook hands with the Carlyle's managing director Giovanni Beretta before being taken to their room - a suite with stunning views of Central Park.

The plush 1930s hotel flew the Union flag outside in anticipation of the arrival and the iconic Empire State Building was lit up red white and blue to welcome them.

The royal couple landed 40 minutes late into New York Credit: Reuters

Describing the atmosphere since the visit was announced Danny Lopez, British consul general, New York, said "over the last few weeks there has been incredible interest" and a huge "level of excitement" from people who want to support or be a part of the royal engagements.

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After settling in William and Kate headed out to a private charity dinner held on behalf of the American Friends of their Royal Foundation.

Tomorrow the Duke will meet US president Barack Obama, before the couple join celebrities at an NBA basketball match in Brooklyn, where they will watch local team the Brooklyn Nets take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Duchess will also visit a Harlem-based organisation for child development.