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Royals wave goodbye to Canada after milestone family visit

Published 02/10/2016

The Duchess of Cambridge steers the tall ship, Pacific Grace, watched by the Duke while sailing with members of the Sail and Life Training Society, at Victoria Inner Harbour in Victoria during the Royal Tour of Canada.
The Duchess of Cambridge steers the tall ship, Pacific Grace, watched by the Duke while sailing with members of the Sail and Life Training Society, at Victoria Inner Harbour in Victoria during the Royal Tour of Canada.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte waved goodbye to Canada as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour ended with the couple praising the nation for the "happy memories" created during their stay.

Thousands lined the harbour of Victoria, capital of British Columbia, to see William and Kate and their children leave by boat plane after an eight-day visit.

The royal tour of eastern Canada had taken the couple from the stunning scenery of the Hadai Gwaii archipelago to the Yukon gold rush town of Whitehorse.

But all eyes had been on George and Charlotte who stole the limelight from their parents when an outdoor children's party was staged in their honour in Victoria.

William spoke about the milestone visit - their first official overseas trip as a family of four - saying they felt ''very lucky'' to have introduced his children to the Commonwealth country which will play a big part in their lives.

The Duke said in a statement before their official departure from Victoria, the capital of British Columbia: ''Catherine and I are incredibly grateful to the people of Canada for the warmth and hospitality they have extended to our family over the last week.

''We have loved our time in British Columbia and Yukon and will never forget the beautiful places we have seen and the many people who have been kind enough to come to welcome us in person.

''We feel very lucky to have been able to introduce George and Charlotte to Canada. This country will play a big part in the lives of our children and we have created such happy memories for our family during this visit.

''Canada is a country of optimism, generosity and unrivalled natural beauty. I hope we have helped all Canadians celebrate what makes this country great. We will see you again soon.''

When it came to the official departure the three-year-old future king and his 17-month-old sister melted the hearts of well-wishers lining crash barriers around the harbour.

When George, dressed in his trademark, shorts, jumper, shirt and knee length shorts, stepped form a people carrier he began waving with one hand and then frantically with both to the amusement of William who smiled as Kate held Charlotte.

And later the 17-month-old princess gave a wave for the crowds as she stood on a jetty with her parents and turned to wave at British Columbia premier Christy Clark.

After ignoring the attempts of Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau who tried to high five George when the prince first arrived, he once again left a well-wisher hanging when the Cambridges first arrived at the jetty.

When posey boy Daniel Brachman, aged 9, bent down and held his palm up to the prince, he was ignored by the three-year-old.

The schoolboy said afterwards: "It was really excited to meet them, I wish that I asked them something but it was still really exciting."

But he did not appear disappointed that George hand not responded to his greeting: "I tried to high five him but he didn't want to."

The Duke and Duchess made their way along a paved walkway to their sea plane and past a guard of honour from the Royal Canadian Navy before saying goodbye to the Governor-General of Canada David Johnston and his wife Sharon, and Christy Clark premier of British Columbia who had attended many of their engagements.

With the journey home beckoning the family approached the plane but stopped to acknowledge the crowds and all four waved.

But as soon as William let go of George's hand he made a dash for the aircraft and got to the first step before the Duke placed his hands on his arms and turned him back.

With the Duchess carrying her daughter and the Duke keeping a firm grip on his son they posed for the crowds and photographers waving one last time.

An impatient George looked at the plane, shuffled his feet and pulled on his father's hand before they all boarded the aircraft.

William and Kate ended their last day in Canada by taking to the waves in a tall ship. The royal couple helped to hoist sails and Kate even took the wheel of the vessel used to take youngsters on voyages to teach them life skills.

Kate, a keen sailor, looked at ease when she guided the Pacific Grace, a wooden-hulled gaff-rigged schooner operated by a Canadian charity, to its moorings.

Earlier the couple had gone on a walkabout meeting youngsters and their parents during a visit to Cridge Centre for the Family - one of Victoria's best-known charitable institutions.

The centre provides a range of services, including childcare, youth outreach, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence.

The engagement began with William joking about his failure to reel in a catch during a fishing trip with the Duchess in waters off the British Columbia coast - shrugging it off as just one of those things.

The couple tried to hook a salmon during their trip on Friday, but the only fish they saw was one caught earlier, which was being kept in a cooler box.

When the couple arrived at the centre, waiting to greet them was Christy Clark, premier of British Columbia, and the Duke told her about his day on the water: ''We didn't catch anything. It's typical, whenever we go anywhere. All the best laid plans go to pot.''

Speaking about the fish shown to the couple, he added: ''That salmon was the biggest fish I've seen. It was a great day.''

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