Canada Day Celebrated With Royal Couple During Official Tour

Jul 1, 2011, 07:56 by R.E. Christian

British Prince William and his wife Catherine began their first full day in Canada Friday with thousands of fans lining routes and venues hours in advance.

The duke and duchess of Cambridge spent their first night in the country at Rideau Hall, the residence of the governor general.

Their agenda included a visit to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, followed by a midday celebration on Parliament Hill of Canada Day, the country's 144th birthday.

They were then to make a short trip to Gatineau, Quebec, to hand out flags to 25 new Canadians in a citizenship ceremony.

The couple arrived Thursday afternoon to the cheers of thousands of fans, some who camped out overnight to secure the best viewing positions.

William drew appreciative cheers when he began a speech in French, one of Canada's two official languages. He jokingly said his French "will improve as we go on."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to the couple for not attending their April 29 Wedding. He said he and his wife Laureen couldn't attend because of the May 2 Canadian election but watched the ceremony on television in a Montreal hotel room, Postmedia News said.

It is the first visit to Canada for Catherine, or Kate. Her husband last visited 15 years ago, when he was 14, with his mother, Princess Diana.

Diana was killed in 1997, the year after that visit. Friday would have been her 50th birthday.

Source: UPI