In the final leg of their Canadian tour, Their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Dutchess of Cambridge, paid a visit to Alberta last week.
The Canadian tour fell on the 125th anniversary of the first royal visit to Canada, by then Prince William, later King William IV; and was the couple’s first official overseas visit as a married couple.
Their nine-day trip began in Ottowa where they attended this years Canada Day celebrations, proceeding through Quebec, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest territories before arriving in Alberta.
Arriving for their two-day stay in Calgary, they were presented with the traditional ten gallon hats in the White Hat Ceremony: the Calgary equivalent of receiving the key to the city.
The following day, they fully embraced the cowboy spirit, dressing from head to toe in cowboy clothes – including their new hats –letting their hair down at the world’s biggest rodeo: the Calgary Stampede.
The Calgary Stampede had never seen anything quite like it, and the Duke and Duchess had never seen anything quite like the Calgary Stampede, as they arrived in town on a 100-year-old stagecoach with grins as wide as a bull’s horns.
In fact, the Duke was enjoying himself so much that he gave his bodyguards a moment of panic as he decided on the spur of the moment to take the reins of a chuck wagon, as well as clambering on top of a metal pen to get a closer look at a rodeo bull.
William made his last speech of the tour still dressed as a cowboy. “This is different,” he joked from beneath his ten gallon hat.
He paid tribute to the “Canadian family” and said he and his wife couldn’t wait to come back. He said:
“In 1939 my great grandmother Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, said of her first tour of Canada with her husband King George VI, ‘Canada made us.’ Catherine and I now know very well what she meant. Canada has far surpassed all that we were promised. Our promise to Canada is that we shall return.
“I can only say that the experience of this past seven days has exceeded all our expectations. We have been hugely struck by the diversity of this beautiful country: from Ottawa to Quebec; from Prince Edward Island to the Northwest Territories, and now the excitement of Calgary. And what about these fantastic white hats.”