Canada holds a very special place in the Royal life of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. After getting married on April 29 in 2011 at Westminster Abbey, Prince William and Duchess Catherine undertook their first international tour in July 2011 and the destination was beautiful Commonwealth Realm Canada. After 9 days, the couple departed the country with a promise to be back.
And they kept their promise. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Canada once again in September 2016 for 8-days long royal tour. This time the happily married couple was joined by their adorable children Prince George and Princess Charlotte to visit British Columbia and Yukon. Canada definitely marked many firsts of the family. If it was William and Catherine’s first overseas tour as a married couple, it was also Princess Charlotte’s first international tour. The royal world, international media and diplomats of both countries and the Canadian public were eager to see the Family of four. This was the third official visit to Canada for The Duke of Cambridge and the second for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a couple.
On July 27 in 2016, Kensington Palace announced the Autumn tour. The couple was invited to visit by the Government of Canada. The tour’s jam-packed itinerary was released on August 22nd in 2016. The couple was set to undertake more than 30 engagements in 8 days. A spokesman for Kensington Palace said,
“The Duke and Duchess are delighted to be returning to Canada. They hold very happy memories from their visit in 2011 – their first overseas tour as a married couple. They are really looking forward to seeing other parts of this beautiful country and having the opportunity to meet many more Canadians along the way.”
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, said:
“Sharon and I will be delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Canada. Their Royal Tour will take them to the beautiful province of British Columbia and the scenic territory of Yukon. Once again, our true Canadian pride and spirit will shine and be at the very heart of this visit so they can feel at home.”
The Duke and Duchess released a statement describing the tour,
The Duke and Duchess consider it an honour to be visiting Canada – the largest Commonwealth Realm – in the year of The Queen’s 90th birthday. British Columbia and Yukon are among the most beautiful places in the world and home to many indigenous communities.
The tour will see them take in everything from the bustling global city of Vancouver – population 2.5 million – to the remote and beautiful Bella Bella, home to less than 2,000 people. Along the way, they will meet as many Canadians as possible and will help celebrate Canada’s First Nations communities, its arts and culture, pristine and beautiful environment, and its compassionate and innovative charitable sector. This will be a busy tour, with more than 30 engagements over the week, and The Duke and Duchess hope to meet thousands of new people along the way.
This visit is a chance for The Duke and Duchess to deepen their relationship with a country that they will visit many times over the course of their lives. They want to help the people of British Columbia and Yukon to celebrate what makes Canada great and to showcase some amazing places to the rest of the world.
Canadian Heritage released a statement welcoming the tour,
The unique beauty of Canada’s West Coast and the rugged wildness of the North will be front and centre during The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second official Royal Tour to Canada. The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today announced Their Royal Highnesses will visit five communities in British Columbia—Victoria, Vancouver, Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella, and Kelowna—and two communities in Yukon—Whitehorse and Carcross.
Their Royal Highnesses will participate in events and activities that highlight the work Canadians are doing to preserve the environment, empower young people, improve mental health, encourage active living and highlight Indigenous culture and heritage.
“As celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Confederation draw ever closer, we are delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their second Royal Tour to Canada. During this tour, Their Royal Highnesses will shine a light on the dedication and service of many Canadians who are doing important work in our Northern and West Coast communities.”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Palace confirmed on September 12 that Prince George and Princess Charlotte will be accompanying the couple on the tour. The spokesman said, “I am very pleased to confirm that they will bring their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, with them to Canada. They have received so many wonderful messages from Canadians since the birth of their children and look forward to having the chance to introduce their young family to the country.“
The Royal couple made the Government House in Victoria their base for 8 days where Prince George and Princess Charlotte stayed throughout the tour while William and Catherine travelled around. The Royal family was accompanied by the entourage of 12 and a team of Scotland Yard protection officers in the aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force that had a private cabin. Their staff entourage included four press officers including communications secretary Jason Knauf, William and Catherine’s then private secretaries Miguel Head and Rebecca Deacon. A tour secretary, operations manager and The Duchess’s hairdresser Amanda Cook-Tucker and personal stylist Natasha Archer were part of the team along with George and Charlotte’s Nanny Maria.
The couple landed in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, on the afternoon of Saturday 24th September at 4 PM of local time.
The family of four was looking beautiful in colour-coordinated blue outfits. The royal fans were eager to see Prince George on his second overseas tour.
The Little Prince was the sole reason of killing republican movement in Australia during his first overseas visit in April 2014.
While, his cute as a button, sister Princess Charlotte was going to spend this much time in the public eye for the first time since her birth in May 2015. The dotting Mummy Catherine was holding Princess Charlotte while William held George’s hand when they embarked from the plane.
The couple was thirty minutes behind the schedule. I believe it took some time to get the children ready for one of their biggest public moments.
The Governor-General of Canada David Johnston and his wife Sharon and the Prime Minister of the country Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie were waiting for the Royal family at Victoria Airport.
Family meeting the dignitaries.
Although the kids were in a completely different time zone (British Columbia is 8 hours behind London), they were calm as water and behaved impeccably during the arrival moments.
I have always said that only Catherine can do this. She was holding her 16-months daughter and wearing almost 4 inches high heels when she crouched down to talk to her son. Catherine must have a very disciplined work-out routine to have a strong core.
After the greetings, the royal family posed for the group photographs. Before leaving, Prince George turned and gave a small wave to PM Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie Trudeau.
Then they headed towards the Government House for a short stop to settle down the kids.
A video of the arrival.
From there The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at British Columbia’s Parliament Buildings, located right on Victoria’s waterfront, for the official welcome ceremony.
The official welcome to Canada ceremony included s full military honours including a 21-gun salute, the breaking of Prince William’s Canadian Standard, and an inspection of the Guard of Honour and speeches. The event was open to the public so approximately 10, 000 well-wishers gathered around the buildings to meet and greet the royal couple.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walked down the red carpet among the cheers from thousands of well-wishers.
The Duchess received a floral welcome from 14-year-old Vicky Foster. Vicky was suffering from cystic fibrosis. She wanted to meet the Princess and Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada fulfilled her wish to meet the royal couple by choosing her for the floral welcome.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge greeted the public. The thousands of the public members were cheering and calling their names. The couple spent time trying to meet as many as they can.
At the Parliament Building, The royal couple paid their respects at Victoria’s Cenotaph and unveil a new plaque paying tribute to the veterans of Canada’s involvement in the Afghanistan conflict.
Then they signed the visitor’s book, marking the visit.
A group of traditional dancers from first nation gave a dance performance at the welcome ceremony. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoying the welcome ceremony.
Prince William addressed the gathering and thanked the country for the warm welcome. He also talked about 2011 royal tour noting he and Catherine have never forgotten the welcome they received in 2011. He said, “We are so pleased that George and Charlotte can be with us, beginning their own lifetime of friendship with this wonderful country. Catherine and I have asked to meet as many people from as many walks of life as we can while we are here.”
A video of the welcome ceremony.
Following this event, Their Royal Highnesses returned to Government House where they held a meeting with Governor General David Johnston and his wife.
Then they met with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie.
The day ended with a group photograph.
As expected, The Duchess of Cambridge chose an extremely elegant look for the arrival. The sartorial nodes were not missing either. Catherine and William chose a blue colour that is part of the BC flag.
She topped the outfit with a blue custom-made Lock & Co Maple Leaf Hat that featured National Emblem of Canada – Maple leaf. Her elegant chignon was giving a regal touch to the hat. She was wearing G. Collins & Sons Tanzanite Earrings.
The Day 1 ended on a very excited not with a warm welcome. The couple retired for the night with their kids at the Government House and was ready to start the public outings and engagements on Day 2.