'Kate! Kate! Kate!' crowds chant at royals
Photo gallery: Royal tour Day 1
Kate and William's great Canadian adventure has officially begun.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touched down at Ottawa's airport just before 2 p.m., the start of their nine-day tour of Canada and proceeded to quickly run behind schedule as they sought to shake as many hands as possible in walkabouts around the War Memorial and Rideau Hall.
No one seemed to mind, though, as the royals looked relaxed and chatty in making their way through a busy first few hours of their tour.
They were greeted by warm and windy conditions and a group of dignitaries. Kate, who sported a blue dress and jacket when she boarded the plane in London, had changed into a dark blue and white dress designed by Montreal-born Erdem Moralioglu for the landing at Ottawa (right).
Kate and William began their journey from London's Heathrow Airport in London, where they boarded a Royal Canadian Forces plane.
Kate immediately put a Canadian stamp on the day by wearing a blue blazer by Toronto-based Smythe les Vestes (bottom right). That covered a navy blue knee-length Manon dress by French designer Roland Mouret. The outfit was completed by Manolo Blahnik Calogera court shoes and a Mulberry purse.
For Prince William, wearing a blue suit with red tie and a Canadian pin on his lapel, this is his third visit to Canada.
After landing and being greeted by dignataries at the airport, the couple travelled to the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa for their first public event, laying a wreath to honour Canadian soldiers.
It was a symbolic and solemn first stop, reports Bruce Campion-Smith, but the occasion didn't dampen the public's welcome.
Kate and William lay a weath and flowers at the monument following two minutes of silence, then signed the visitors' book and greeted military veterans, taking their time to talk to everyone in line.
The couple then were driven by limo to Rideau Hall, where William inspected a Guard of Honour, was given a 21-gun salute and spent time talking to members of the Guard and its band.
Governor-General David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper made short remarks welcoming the royal couple to Canada and congratulating them on their marriage.
Prince William then made a short speech, starting in French and alternating quite well between Canada's two official languages. After one stretch of French, he broke from the script to tells the thousands gathered at Rideau Hall: "We'll improve as we go along."
That elicted laughter, and gave the prince a sheepish grin. He told the audience of his and Kate's anticipation of this trip, even before their marriage.
"We've been looking forward for this moment for a long long time," Prince William said, adding that he hopes to learn a lot more of about Canada during their stay.
The walkabouts seemed to invigorate both royal and commoner, with many smiles on both sides, not to mention flowers. Kate seemed to especially enjoy a bouquet given her by Aurelia Tibault and Sophie Graydon (above left).
At 6 p.m., it's barbeque time for the royal couple with a group of Canadian youth.
Although the royal entourage is made up of just seven aides aside from the royal couple, they will be followed around by an army of journalists. More than 1,300 journalists are accredited for the tour, about 500 more than covered the Queen's tour of Canada last year. There are just under 100 journalists from the United Kingdom alone. Qatar, Japan, India and China are among the other countries represented in the media contingent.
The largest crowd of the day was reserved for Rideau Hall, where at least 5,000 people watched the welcoming ceremony and hoped for a glimpse, or even a handshake, from the royal couple.
Annika and Alice Fleming, 8, wore matching dresses and sailor hats, and held bouquets for "Prince Charming." Their 3-year-old brother Ethan said he was excited to see the couple, but got distracted, mid-interview, by an officer on segway.
Pat Drew from Ottawa came with her grandchildren and daughter. She was dressed in a smart outfit the queen would have enjoyed, but unlike the Queen, had to worry about getting sub sauce on her face as she quickly ate a sandwich.
Olivia Robertson, her 8-year-old granddaughter from Oakville, says she thinks William is handsome "depending on what he wears."
"Oh, I think he is," her grandmother retorted.
Jessie Skillings, 91, says her first royal tour was 1939. In the 60s, she was close enough to Prince Philip to kiss him, but feared arrest. "I just love them," she said. "I hope the marriage lasts forever."
The big show in Ottawa will come Friday with Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill around noon.
On Wednesday, the open royal landau went for a test run as dozens of police officers on motorcycles practised the route. Bands performing at the Canada Day show performed sound checks as workers nailed up tourist signs.
with files from Katie Daubs