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Politics Trudeau invites William and Catherine for royal tour of Canada

Britain's Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and their two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte in a photograph taken in late October 2015 at Kensington Palace in London.

CHRIS JELF/AFP/Getty Images

Canadian officials are working on a royal visit that would be a match made in paparazzi heaven, featuring Prince William, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and their equally telegenic families.

The visit has yet to be officially confirmed, but it stands to be a crucial moment in the lead-up to the 2017 celebrations of Canada's 150th anniversary. A formal invitation has been sent and early preparations are under way, sources said.

The visit would be the most glamorous event featuring the Prime Minister since the state dinner in Washington, in March, and add to the number of glitzy photo ops that have marked his first year in power.

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"The Prime Minister certainly has invited William and Kate [Middleton] and family to come to Canada whenever they are available on their schedule," Mr. Trudeau's director of communications Kate Purchase said in an interview, adding an official letter has been sent.

Ms. Purchase confirmed that the visit could come as early as the fall.

"It is a possibility, but again, we don't have any confirmation. From the Prime Minister's perspective, we invited them whenever their schedules permitted it," Ms. Purchase said.

Other sources said officials are already mobilizing in anticipation of the visit, which stands to upstage any other royal visit that would occur during the actual celebrations of Canada's sesquicentennial.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are now both 34, last visited Canada in 2011. They have since had two young children, two-year-old George and one-year-old Charlotte.

Mr. Trudeau is 44 while his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, is 41. They have three children: eight-year-old Xavier, seven-year-old Ella-Grace and two-year-old Hadrien.

Any public event featuring the two families would stand to make headlines around the world. While the members of the Royal Family have long been hounded by the media, the Trudeaus are relative newcomers on the international stage, but have quickly gained a worldwide following after a series of planned and impromptu photo-ops.

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Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Grégoire Trudeau have been featured in international publications like Vogue and Paris Match, and created a stir during official visits to countries like Japan, giving them an unusual reach on the world stage.

"In terms of the public interest and the frenzy that has been surrounding some of the events that the Prime Minister and his wife and his family have been a part of, you can multiply that exponentially if you add in the Royal Family," said Amanda Alvaro, a communications strategist and frequent Liberal commentator.

Ms. Alvaro said the Liberals have mastered the use of highly visible events to promote the Prime Minister and transmit his message to an increasingly global audience.

"I think the team that surrounds the Trudeau government has really understood strategically that if you have a willing leader who is prepared to walk in Pride and take photos with people and be accessible, then you would use that to your advantage to get people to participate in the political process," she said.

The Prime Minister's Office is awaiting word from Kensington Palace on the visit, including the potential destinations that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would like to visit.

Other members of Canada's Royal Family are set to feature prominently in the celebrations of Confederation, which saw the birth of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Under one of the scenarios being considered in Ottawa, there would be a visit by the Queen or Prince Charles during the official celebrations next year.

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"Canada Day 2017 presents an opportunity to host a royal tour. It is customary for members of the Royal Family who are in Canada on July 1 to join Canadians on Parliament Hill to celebrate the day. Her Majesty the Queen attended celebrations on Parliament Hill for Canada's Centennial in 1967," said a briefing book prepared for Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly after the Liberals came to power last year.

Charles is next in line to the throne, followed by William, George and Charlotte.

With a report from Chris Hannay

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