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Prince William, Kate charm Canada on royal visit

Prince William and Kate joined in Canada Day celebrations on Friday, distributing flags to 25 new citizens, as they continue a nine-day jaunt through Canada on their first official overseas trip.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Prince William and Kate joined in Canada Day celebrations on Friday, distributing flags to 25 new citizens, as they continue a nine-day jaunt through Canada on their first official overseas trip.

The country's 144th birthday celebration will include a concert and a speech by the prince.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they are officially known, emerged from their motorcade Friday at the Canadian Museum of Civilization to raucous cheering from hundreds of spectators. The pro-royal spectators drowned out a handful of protesters who oppose requiring Canadian citizens to pledge allegiance to the Queen when they broke into spontaneous renditions of "O Canada" and "God Save the Queen".

Queen Elizabeth II — William's grandmother — remains Canada's head of state.

At the museum, the royal pair sat quietly alongside Governor General David Johnston, who is the Queen's representative in Canada, and Heritage Minister Jason Kenney as the new Canadians were warmly welcomed to their new home.

William and Kate watched as 25 people from 14 countries became Canadian citizens. They then handed out red and white maple leaf flags to the newly minted Canadians, then participated in a reception for the new citizens and their families.

Kate was resplendent in Canadian colors, a cream dress by the London designer Reiss, complete with the Queen's Maple Leaf brooch, and a brilliant red hat. Queen Elizabeth loaned the brooch to the duchess for the tour; it was first worn in 1951 by the then-Princess Elizabeth on her first visit to Canada.

Friday also would have been the 50th birthday of William's mother, Princess Diana, who died in a 1997 Paris car crash. In London, her admirers gathered to leave gifts outside Kensington Palace, which was her official residence.

William and Kate arrived in Canada on Thursday to cheering crowds of thousands. Poised and confident, they thrilled crowds with warm, unscripted gestures, wading into throngs of well-wishers to shake hands and accept flowers and other gifts.

To cheers of delight, William addressed his hosts in both English and French, then cracked a joke about his language skills. "It will improve as we go on," the prince quipped, then noted how much he and Kate were "truly looking forward to this adventure."

"They are beautiful together, like a fairy tale," gushed 15-year-old Daphnee Dubouchet-Olshesh, who was in the crowd with her mother. "He just sounded so cute and adorable with his English accent. He did pretty good with his French."

The royal pair then headed straight to the National War Memorial, where they were met by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen. Each laid a wreath before stepping into the crowd to speak individually with veterans.

Stunning in tan stilettos and a figure-hugging navy scoop-backed dress with a lace overlay by Canadian designer Erdem Moralioglu, Kate was greeted with cheers of "We want Kate!" at every stop. William wore a blue suit with burgundy tie.

Later, the couple attended a reception for young Canadians. It was billed as a celebration barbecue but it was brought inside due to rain.

During the visit, William, a helicopter pilot, will take part in a water landing demonstration, and the couple is scheduled to put on aprons and take part in a cooking workshop in Quebec City. They also will open the world-renowned Calgary Stampede.

Earlier in the week, Harper unveiled a personal flag for William's visit — the first to be created by Canada for a member of the royal family since 1962, when the queen adopted a personal flag for her own use in Canada.

Some anti-royal protests were expected in the French-speaking province of Quebec, with small groups planning protests in Quebec City and Montreal.

The prince and Kate jet to Los Angeles on July 8 and will host a gala dinner there the next night to introduce up-and-coming British film talent to Hollywood executives.


Associated Press writer Charmaine Noronha contributed to this story from Toronto.