Prince William, Kate begin Canadian tour in Ottawa

Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:55pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - White cowboy hats, an emergency helicopter landing and a flight over the fictional home of Anne of Green Gables await Prince William and his new bride Kate in Canada on their first official trip overseas.

The potential future king and queen of Britain and Canada began their Canadian tour in Ottawa on Thursday afternoon, a trip designed in part to strengthen bonds between the monarchy and Canadians, whose head of state is Queen Elizabeth.

"Welcome to Canada, honeymoon capital of the Commonwealth," quipped Governor General David Johnston, the queen's representative in Canada, as he received the royal couple at Rideau Hall, his official home.

Prince William drew a sentimental "awwww" from the crowd in front of Rideau Hall when he told them: "Before we were married, we had a longing to come here together."

He spoke briefly in French, but was clearly a bit embarrassed, adding in English: "It will improve as we go on."

Kate, who did not make a speech, wore a navy lace Cecile scoop-backed dress, designed by Canadian Erdem Moralioglu.

Earlier the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge placed a wreath at the National War Memorial, and stopped to chat and shake hands with veterans and some of the thousands of spectators who came out to see them in downtown Ottawa.

A record-breaking crowd was expected to welcome them at Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill on Friday.   Continued...

<p>Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive at the National War Memorial in Ottawa June 30, 2011. REUTERS/Blair Gable</p>