Quieter royal tour heads for mixed Quebec reception

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 02, 2011 5:13 PM
Quieter royal tour heads for mixed Quebec reception

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A visit to Canada by Britain's Prince William and Kate took on a quieter note on Saturday as the newlyweds prepared to head for Quebec and a politically sensitive phase of their royal tour.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a tree-planting ceremony with invited guests in Ottawa and helped unveil a newly purchased mural at the Canadian War Memorial where they also greeted military veterans and war brides.

They are later heading to Montreal where they planned to visit a hospital neo-natal ward, then attend a cooking class before boarding a Canadian Navy frigate for an overnight trip down the St Lawrence River to Quebec City.

Saturday's schedule contrasted with the first two days of the nine-day Canadian tour that included events with thousands of people watching and often chanting "Will and Kate" at the potential future king and queen of Britain and Canada.

Anti-monarchist groups in Quebec have vowed to protest the visit by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the French-speaking province and security was expected to be even tighter than at events in Ottawa, Canada's capital.

Some recent tours by members of the Royal family have avoided Quebec, where many still see Britain's defeat of France in 1759 giving it sovereignty over Canada as a raw wound.

Supporters of the monarchy in Canada see the couple's first overseas tour since becoming married in April as an opportunity to reinvigorate public interest in the royal family.

William and Kate are touring seven cities in four provinces and one territory on their Canadian tour. They head to California on July 8.

A poll this week found almost half of Canadians believe that the nation should sever ties with the monarchy when Queen Elizabeth dies, although that was down 10 percentage points from a year ago.

(Writing by Allan Dowd in Vancouver, Editing by Eric Walsh)