Warm welcome for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Canada

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The Independent US

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received a rapturous welcome in Canada during the first day of their historic tour of the Commonwealth country.

Thousands of Canadians flocked to the capital Ottawa for the couple's arrival yesterday and some were left screaming their names and showering them with gifts.

There were chants of "We love you Kate" following a ceremony to honour the country's war dead, and the Duke also had his admirers who voiced their appreciation later during a walkabout.

When the royals were officially welcomed at a ceremony staged at Rideau Hall, the official home of Governor General David Johnston, there were repeated calls of "William, William" and one woman even grasped his hand and repeated "I love you".

The Duke made a short speech to mark the first day of their visit and spoke his opening and closing words in French - as many officials do when giving public addresses in the bilingual nation.

In the grounds of Rideau Hall he said: "Catherine and I are so delighted to be here in Canada. Instilled in us by our parents and grandparents, who love this country, we have been looking forward to this moment for a very long time - and before we were married, we both had a longing to come here together.

"The geography of Canada is unsurpassed and is famous for being matched only by the hospitality of its people. We are so very excited about having this opportunity to experience both - and learn much more about this amazing country."

After the second-in-line to the throne tried another passage in French which translated as "today we begin our first tour together, we could not be better accompanied than by the great Canadian family", he joked with his audience saying: "It will improve as we go along."

Kate had begun the day boarding the Canadian Forces' Airbus plane at Heathrow wearing a navy blue knee-length Manon dress by French designer Roland Mouret with a navy blazer by Toronto-based Smythe les Vestes.

But by the time she walked down the plane's steps after landing in Ottawa more than seven hours later the royal had changed into a creation by Erdem Moralioglu, a Canadian designer born in Montreal.

The gown was a navy, lace Cecile shift scoop-backed dress of contrast stone crepe with a navy lace overlay.

The fact that the clothes featured Canadian or French labels appeared to be a move to please her hosts, including those in the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec.

And by the time an evening barbecue was staged Kate had changed into a third outfit, a black and white dress decorated with birds by one of her favourite designers Issa, who created her famous blue engagement dress.

A record 1,400 journalists, broadcasters and photographers from across the globe, including just short of 100 from the UK, will be covering the visit - 500 more than those who were accredited for the Queen's visit last year.

The royal couple will travel to seven cities - including Calgary, Montreal and Quebec - during their visit, meeting a diverse array of Canadians and getting to grips with the challenges and excitement of being on tour.

Today is Canada Day - the country's national day and birthday - and later William and Kate will attend a Canadian citizenship ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Civilisation, handing out national flags to new Canadians.

Celebrations on July 1 begin with the "Noon Show" - the main ceremonial moment of the tour - where the nation comes together on Parliament Hill for a music and pageantry event in the capital.

As part of the celebrations, there will be anthems, a flypast by the Snowbirds - a military aircraft display team - and a link-up with Canadian Forces in Kandahar, Southern Afghanistan.

During the event William will make a short speech as will the Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The royal couple will drop into the evening show when rock and pop bands entertain the crowds before attending a private diplomatic reception in the city where they will watch a firework finale marking the national day.

Today is also the birthday of William's mother Diana, Princess of Wales who would have celebrated her 50th anniversary if she had not died in a Paris car crash in 1997.