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Get used to this: Prince William and Kate Middleton on the day their engagement was announced. (Getty Images)
Get used to this: Prince William and Kate Middleton on the day their engagement was announced. (Getty Images)

Royal Travel

Will Canada be first trip for royal couple? Add to ...

Within hours of last week's announcement that Prince William would marry long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton, Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly invited them to pay a visit to Canada.

Now, a British tabloid is reporting the royal couple will likely take the PM up on his offer, making Canada the destination of their first official trip overseas after their wedding next year.

In a brief story, the Daily Express said that, as the prince has already toured Australia, New Zealand and some other countries officially, aides felt he was due for a visit to Canada.

While no announcements have been made by either government, Canadian royal watchers said this country would be an obvious choice for a first visit.

"It would be widely expected that [Canada]would be the first or second stop," said Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada, who says it would likely come down to a choice between here or Australia, which could both be visited on the same trip. "Canada in particular holds a special place for the royal family. It's a country that's always provided them a warm welcome."

Unlike other Commonwealth nations, Canada has had little serious discussion of doing away with the monarchy, he said, and royal visits seem to have a greater effect on Canadians than they do on the Queen's subjects in other countries, evidenced by the excitement generated by Elizabeth II's visit earlier this year.

Others, however, cautioned that royal officials likely had not made any plans for William's post-nupital visits, as they are consumed with planning his wedding.

"They will definitely not state that in the next couple of weeks," said Ciara Hunt, a royal watcher and former editor of Hello Canada magazine, who expects any announcement on the prince's travel plans likely won't come until closer to the date of the wedding.

A visit by the prince and his bride, whenever it occurs, would likely be the most exciting royal visit in our lifetimes, she said.

"We know the scale of the reception when he visits with his bride will be off the charts," said Alison Eastwood, editor of Hello Canada. "Many people are saying it's Canada's time; he hasn't been here for a while."

Prince William's last visit to Canada came in March of 1998, just months after his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash. The prince, who was in British Columbia for a skiing holiday with his father and brother, was greeted by crowds of screaming

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