Ottawa, ON – Crowds in Ottawa warmly welcomed Canada’s newlywed prince and his wife Thursday as William and Kate kicked off their first royal tour since their spring nuptials.
Thousands gathered at the National War Memorial and Rideau Hall, the two sites for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s public appearances on the first day of their eight-day tour.
The royal couple seemed to take their time with the people they met, smiling and engaging with veterans, children and other onlookers who lined metal security fences in downtown Ottawa.
The Rideau Hall audience, who heard William’s first speech in Canada, cheered when he started his remarks in French, and laughed when he joked that he will improve in the language as the trip progresses.
Upon their arrival, William and Kate went straight from the airport to the National War Memorial, where they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Harper and his wife, Laureen, mingled with onlookers before the couple arrived.
The group stood at the base of the memorial, chatting until the playing of Last Post, then observed two minutes of silence. The crowd was quiet.
They then took a few minutes to walk down the line of veterans sporting berets and medals as people shouted “We love you, Kate.”
The crowd cheered with excitement as the couple approached them and began saying hello and shaking hands on either side of the red carpet.
The couple will launch Canada Day festivities on Friday with a citizenship ceremony.