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Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Sharon Johnston and Governor General David Johnston ride in a carriage during Canada 150 celebrations in Ottawa on Saturday, July 1, 2017.


Two little girls and their mother held up a poster to greet Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall as they visited the newly renovated National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The poster read in large black and red letters, "We meet again. We were born on your wedding."

This family was part of a crowd of hundreds of fans that followed the prince and his wife around the city as the royals attended openings, visits and ceremonies to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.

"I was born on his wedding day," said Helena Jordan, as she held up her poster. Her mother, she said, had seen the royals 23 times in the past. "We also met them in Toronto when I was seven years old; it's been a long time since then."

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Prince Charles, clad in a grey striped suit, and Camilla, wearing a light blue dress and a white hat with feathers, were greeted by thousands of people who waited anxiously in the pouring rain to get a glimpse of the pair.

The tour began early in the morning and included meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. David Johnston, as well as stops at the Canadian History Hall, the newly renovated National Arts Centre, Shopify and Rideau Hall.

"All my life I watched him and I went to England and London and saw them from afar but to actually shake his hand and see that he is one of us was really important to me," said Marie-Francine Lamoureux, who had been waiting hours to see the Prince at the Canadian Museum of History. "It means a lot, it's a part of our roots."

The newly invested Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada showered the country and its people with praise and bid farewell to Gov. Gen. David Johnston.The Governor General presented the Prince with his insignia during an investiture ceremony at Rideau Hall after Prince Charles began the day — the last of his visit to Canada with Camilla — by sitting down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Later in the day, Prince Charles returned the favour as he acknowledged Johnston's seven years as the Queen's representative in Canada and thanked him for his service.

"I would like to say a special thank you on your behalf to the Governor General for his seven years of impeccable service as Her Majesty's representative here in Canada," Charles told thousands of revellers at Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill. "He has earned great respect and gratitude as a modern nation-builder, whose commitment to the youth of Canada — and to reconciliation — is exemplary."

The royal couple also became the first visitors to the newly opened Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., where they cut a ceremonial ribbon and met with the Alkhalaf family from Syria, now based in Peterborough, Ont.

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The new exhibit features 15,000 years of Canadian history, beginning with Indigenous peoples.

"It tells a comprehensive history of Canada from the dawn of habitation to present," said Lisa Leblanc, the museum's director of creative development and learning. "We start with the presence of First Peoples on the territory and we bring it all the way up to 2017, so the last story we have in there is about the Syrian refugees. We know that history is unfolding so our exhibition can be updatable."

Ms. Leblanc said the royal couple enjoyed the visit. "They're the best possible visitors," she said. "They are very engaged and very curious, they were full of questions."

At the National Arts Centre, a red carpet was rolled out for the pair's arrival and they were led through the centre by members of the Algonquin Nation who played a traditional hand drum song. Inside, they were met with a choir, and Prince Charles tapped his toe to the music.

Prince Charles and Camilla greeted visitors at the NAC and the Museum of History, shaking peoples' hands and waving at the crowd.

Maureen Griffin from Sudbury, Ont. had been waiting over three hours to see the prince at the National Arts Centre. Nearly in tears, she said that the royals are an important part of Canada's history and she couldn't help but wait.

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"Canada means everything to me, it's everything, it's the people and it's my home," she said. "We're also very much connected to England, and they are still part of us and Canada, so I'm very excited to see him."

The royal couple spent their evening at Rideau Hall and Shopify, where they met with young entrepreneurs and students. As they entered, people sang the national anthem on the streets.

At Rideau Hall the Prince planted a sugar maple tree on the grounds and wished it "good luck." Camilla did the same. The two also took part in a ceremony to mark the inauguration of the new Queen's Entrance at Rideau Hall. They will head back to Oxfordshire, UK on the night of Canada's 150th anniversary.

Dressed in bright red and sporting Canada Day sunglasses, Sarah Mai waited to greet the Prince along with her mother and brother. "We're here to celebrate and see the prince, it only happens once so I decided to come and be very festive. This will be our first time seeing royalty up close. We saw the wedding on TV, but this is real, and it's amazing."

With files from The Canadian Press

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