William, Kate get rock-star welcome in Ottawa

Fri Jul 1, 2011 4:52pm EDT
 
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's capital gave a rock-star welcome Friday to Britain's newlywed royal couple, Prince William and Duchess Kate, with a giant street party.

An estimated 300,000 people, many of them bedecked in the red and white colors of the Canadian flag on the nation's 144th birthday, crammed onto Parliament Hill and chanted "Will and Kate" as the potential future king and queen arrived.

"It's created a new interest in the royalty, for sure," said Geordie Secord, who stood for hours in hot sun with his wife and two daughters in order to get a front row view.

Standing on a stage against the backdrop of the neo-gothic Parliament buildings, the Duke of Cambridge addressed the crowd in rudimentary French as well as in English. He was interrupted by whoops from the crowd each time he mentioned his wife, the former Kate Middleton

He also conveyed good wishes from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, who is head of state for Canada, and commended the Canadian military for its combat role in Afghanistan, which is now ending.

"The sacrifice of Canadians has been universally revered and respected. We shall never forget," he said.

A much smaller crowd of about 100,000 turned out for Canada Day celebrations attended last year by Queen Elizabeth, whose visit was more protocol-heavy.

William and Kate are touring seven cities as part of their nine-day Canadian tour. They head to California on July 8.   Continued...

 
<p>Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, react during Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa July 1, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>