Why Canada will be the royal newlyweds first port of call

17 FEBRUARY 2011

Just six weeks after returning from her honeymoon in May, new princess Kate Middleton will be flying the flag for Britain on a tour of Canada.

It will be a voyage of discovery for Kate as, unlike Prince William, who has toured there twice before, she has never visited the Commonwealth nation.

"Everyone is terribly excited over here," says Canadian royal reporter Lynne Bell.

"Kate is really big news on this side of the Atlantic, so they will get a very warm welcome."

William and Kate received a formal invitation to visit from Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper when their engagement was announced last November.

The royal newlyweds will fly over in time to celebrate the country's national day on July 1, which will mark the 144th anniversary of the birth of the nation.




Canadian prime minister has expressed his delight at the news, adding that the trip "is a testament" to the country's "very close relationship with the royal family."

The royal couple will be visiting several cities across the country in a trip that will take them from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific shores.

While in the capital, Ottawa, they are expected to stay in Rideau Hall, the magnificent mansion that serves as the home of Canada's Governor General, David Johnston.

Arranging a tour of such a vast country with its different time zones may seem like tossing the new Princess in at the deep end of royal life, but summer is the most popular time for members of the royal family to visit Canada.

The Queen's tour there last summer began in Nova Scotia in a deluge and ended in the scorching heat of Toronto.



Canada holds a special place in William's heart. He first went there in November 1991, when, aged nine, he and Prince Harry visited Niagra Falls with their mother Diana.

They acted like typical tourists, donning blue plastic raincoats to protect them from the Falls' heavy spray as they sailed beneath them on a Maid of the Mist boat cruise.




William visited Canada again with his father and his brother in 1998, just a year after their mother's death.

Then 15 years old, a blushing William was greeted as the new royal heart-throb by screaming girls, much to the amusement of his younger brother.

On walkabouts in Vancouver, British Columbia, he even met girls bearing placards with the message "Marry me", while others thrust their phone numbers at him.



This time around he will be accompanied by his new wife, and he may find that she, not he, is the centre of attention.

It is something which will make him proud, proof that the people of this important nation approve of his choice as their future queen.

Kate will be flying the flag for Britain, the start of a lifetime as our new ambassadress.



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