William and Kate to tour Canada after wedding: palace

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Prince William and Kate Middleton will visit Canada in their first overseas royal tour as a married couple, St James's Palace announced Wednesday.

The visit by William -- who as second in line to the throne is directly in line to become king of the Commonwealth realm -- and Kate will be from June 30 to July 8, two months after their wedding 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," the London palace said in a statement.

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, St James's Palace said.

A palace spokesman confirmed it would be the couple's first official overseas visit following their marriage in London's Westminster Abbey.

William, the son of Prince 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.

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

The spokesman for St James's Palace 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."

Like Britain, Canada is one of the 16 Commonwealth realms, 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.

The queen 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 (her husband Prince Philip) 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.

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

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