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Canada Prepares To Welcome Royal Couple

Canada Prepares To Welcome Royal Couple

4:05am 30th June 2011
(Updated 5:08pm 30th June 2011)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touch down in Canada today for their first joint overseas tour.

The newlyweds arrive in the capital Ottawa at the start of a 12-day visit to North America, which will also see them visit the USA.

Final preparations are being made on the city's Parliament Hill ahead of the July 1 Canada Day celebrations, at which the couple will be the special guests.

William and Kate will arrive on board a Royal Canadian Air Force jet before undertaking their first engagement at the National War Memorial.

The Duke of Cambridge will lay a wreath in memory of Canadian servicemen and women who have died in battle.

Canada's future King will also make his first speech to the country's public on Friday from the stage on Parliament Hill.

"Last year on the same day the crowds that came out for the Queen were extraordinary", said Canada's minister for citizenship and immigration, Jason Kenney.

"So that's why, especially given the excitement around the Royal Wedding and the newness of this lovely couple, we expect to see a very significant turnout this year," he added.

An unprecedented 1,400 journalists have been accredited for the Canadian leg of the tour.

This will see the couple travel to areas such as Quebec where the monarchy is less popular.

Asked about how excited his country was about the tour, Heritage Minister Hon James Moore, told Sky News: "As soon as the engagement was announced everyone started asking questions: 'When is the wedding ?'; How soon after the wedding will they come to Canada?'; 'What kind of tour will it be?'.

"Then you had all the municipalities, cities and provinces across the country submitting asking that if the couple comes to Canada, can they come to us, and these are the places we want them to visit."

Around 300 protesters from the Quebec Resistance Network, a hard line separatist group, plan to make the Duke and Duchess' welcome to the province as uncomfortable as possible.

The same demonstrators clashed with riot police in 2009 during a visit by the Prince of Wales.

But they are actions seemingly at odds with a poll expected later today showing Canada's renewed love affair with the Royal Family.

"William and Kate are unveiling this new 21st century monarchy which is more accessible, more connected to the people and I think that appeals to the younger generation," Matthew Rowe from the Monarchist League of Canada told Sky News.

CBC TV correspondent Reg Sherren added: "What you have is this mega popular couple - the most popular couple in the world at the moment.

"So is what we're seeing actually celebrity interest or renewed interest in the monarchy? That the real question," he added.

Much has changed since the teenage prince last visited Canada in 1998 alongside his father the Prince of Wales and brother Prince Harry.

Canada's future King now comes with a future Queen - the Commonwealth country is not hiding its excitement at being the first to showcase their new marriage.

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