William and Kate to tour Canada after wedding

16th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Prince William and Kate Middleton will visit Canada in their first overseas royal tour as a married couple, palace officials announced Wednesday.

The visit will be from June 30 to July 8, two months after their wedding in London's Westminster Abbey on April 29.

"Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton have accepted an invitation from the government of Canada to undertake a royal tour of Canada," William's office at St James's Palace said in a statement.

The search and rescue pilot is directly in line to become Canada's king after his father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne in the 16 Commonwealth realms, including Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was "delighted" by the visit, adding that it was a "testament to our country's very close relationship with the royal family".

The tour by William, 28, and Kate, 29, will include Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and the capital Ottawa, said St James's Palace.

A spokesman for the 16th-century London palace confirmed it would be the couple's first official overseas visit following their marriage.

William, the son of Charles and the late Diana, princess of Wales, last visited Canada when he went to Vancouver aged 15 in 1998 with his father and brother Prince Harry. He was given a pop star's welcome and was mobbed by teenage girls.

The brothers also toured Ontario province with their parents in 1991.

Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, the year after she and Charles divorced.

The St James's Palace spokesman added: "Prince William was keen to be able to visit Canada for himself as an adult, and to be able to show his wife a country that is close to his family's heart."

Canada is a Commonwealth realm, meaning that Queen Elizabeth II is its head of state and sovereign and William would not be visiting as a foreign royal but as a prince of Canada.

Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip went to Canada last July and in 2009 Charles and his second wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall also visited.

Harper said Canada "looks forward to welcoming the young couple".

"Their decision to come to Canada first is a testament to our country's very close relationship with the royal family -- a bond of loyalty and affection illustrated by the crowds that turned out for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh last year," he said.

"It is my sincere hope that their tour will be the start of a lasting relationship with Canada by the royal couple," he added.

Canada is a common destination with the royals. Queen Elizabeth has toured the realm over 20 times, more than any other country.

It will be seen by commentators as a safe option for a well-received overseas visit by the newlyweds, and a straightforward introduction to royal tours for Middleton.

She will have to get used to the long hours, relentless travelling and varied engagements that are part of the rigours of such trips.

The itinerary is likely to include the usual setpieces of official banquets, welcoming ceremonies involving guards of honour, and walkabouts.

It is thought the couple will take part in Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa on July 1.

News of the trip came a day after Diana's brother Earl Charles Spencer announced that he was to tie the knot with Canadian charity boss Karen Gordon, his third marriage.

That wedding on June 18 will be at Althorp in Northamptonshire, central England, the Spencer family home where Diana is buried.

Peter Phillips, the queen's eldest grandson and William's cousin, married Canadian management consultant Autumn Kelly in 2008.

As excitement grew in Britain ahead of April 29, William on Monday said he had asked Harry to be his best man, while his fiancee had asked her sister Philippa to be maid of honour.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article