Canada royal tour making of us - Duke of Cambridge

The royal couple tried new cowboy headgear in Calgary

The Duke of Cambridge has suggested the royal tour of Canada has been the making of him and his new wife.

On the final stop of their nine-day trip in Calgary, the duke said the visit "far surpassed" expectations.

The duke spoke at the Calgary Stampede rodeo festival where they watched bucking bulls and were given traditional 10 gallon hats.

The couple leave Canada on Friday for California where they will attend a black tie Bafta dinner.

'Beautiful country'

On Thursday, the duke and duchess joined Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a reception ahead of the rodeo, appropriately dressed in cowboy shirts, boots and jeans.

The royal couple arrived riding on top of a stagecoach through cheering crowds.

William wore a blue and green checked shirt and Catherine a white blouse with a pattern by Alice Temperley.

The duke told guests: "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."

He continued: "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."

Hat ceremony

Mr Harper praised the royal couple, telling them: "Your visit has helped introduce a whole new generation of Canadians to the important role of the Crown in the history and governance of our great country.

The Duchess of Cambridge met six-year-old Diamond Marshall The Duchess of Cambridge met six-year-old Diamond Marshall

"Exactly 60 years ago, Canadians were similarly enchanted and enthralled when then Princess Elizabeth embarked upon her first tour of this country."

The custom-made white Smithbilt cowboy hats presented to the royal couple in a ceremony known as "white-hatting" are symbolic of the city, which built its wealth from cattle.

On previous royal visits William's father the Prince of Wales and grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh have been presented with the hats.

Six-year-old Diamond Marshall, who has cancer, was at Calgary International Airport with her father Lyall, 37, and stepmother Danielle, 32.

Lyall wrote to the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada to try to make her dream of meeting a "princess" come true - which happened with the help of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

The duchess, wearing a primrose silk crepe dress by Jenny Packham, crouched down to chat to Diamond.

"She looks as fancy as she does on TV," was the young girl's verdict after meeting the duchess.

Before arriving in Calgary, the duke and duchess took a 24-hour break in a remote log cabin in the Canadian Rockies.

They made an unscheduled stop to visit Slave Lake, Alberta, where more than a third of the town was burned by a wildfire on 15 May, which led to the evacuation of Slave Lake's 7,000 residents.

The royal couple had a private meeting with some of the families who were affected.

More on This Story

Royal tour of North America

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