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Views mesmerise William and Kate on sea plane trip

Published 26/09/2016

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive by seaplane in Vancouver
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive by seaplane in Vancouver

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were left mesmerised by the stunning views of Canada's coastline when they took a trip in a sea plane.

William and Kate spent much of the 30 minute journey looking out of the window as they flew from Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, to the nearby bustling metropolis of Vancouver.

The royal couple and their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte received a rapturous welcome from Canadians on Saturday when their eight-day tour of the Commonwealth country began.

And they spent Sunday in Vancouver visiting organisations and projects to learn how the country is dealing with a range of issues, from the refugee fallout from the Syrian conflict to drug and alcohol addiction among mothers.

Thousands of people turned out to welcome the royal couple throughout their day but there was one dissenting voice - a small group of republicans who had made a replica guillotine and a placard saying "No Kings No Landlords".

Kate wore a striking red and white Alexander McQueen outfit decorated with broderie anglaise for the flight in the sea plane while William looked smart in a jacket, shirt and tie.

A one-way ticket for the trip on the Otter aircraft costs around 210 Canadian dollars (£125) and the Duke and Duchess would have seen British Columbia's coast line, the Gulf Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Later a royal aide said of the flight: ''It was very smooth flying.

''They spent a lot looking out of the window and talking to the pilot. The duke was very interested in the landing and the different conditions they work in.

''They spent a lot of time looking at the incredible views from both sides of the plane.''

The sea plane is the easiest way to travel from Victoria to Vancouver, but it is also the noisiest, which meant William and Kate were given earplugs for the journey in the 18-seater plane.

Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau was on the waterside to greet the couple as were thousands of wellwishers who had gathered at the nearby Jack Poole Plaza.

The Plaza is named after the late Jack Poole, who was a key player behind the success of the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics held in Vancouver.

People packed the plaza, standing 10 deep behind the barriers with cameras and phones held aloft as William and Kate shook hands with the wellwishers.

Wolf whistles and cheers rent the air as people thrust forward flowers, children's books, a teddy bear and, bizarrely, a book on the royal family.

Later William and Kate and chatted with a family who had fled the civil war in Syria, during a visit with Canada's prime minister and his wife to the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS).

Canada's government resettled 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February this year - this included government-supported and privately sponsored refugees.

In the building's Hope suite, the royal couple sat down with the government-assisted refugee family, Alaa Al Mahameed, 36, and wife Yosra, 35, who came to Canada with their daughters Reemas, three, and two-year-old Reetaj, in August and immediately received support and assistance from ISS.

The family - who fled Syria in 2012 and struggled to start a new life in Jordan - are one of the first to live in the organisation's on-site temporary housing.

As well as English classes, ISS has also supported the family with their settlement assessment programme, which helps them with paperwork and orientation.

Kate briefly crouched to say hello to the two young children and asked their mother for their ages and through a translator, added: "Has it been difficult with young children?" and Yosra responded: "We feel safe here. Much more safe."

William spoke to their father about the conflict in Syria asking: "Was there a lot of devastation in your town? How bad was the situation?"

Alaa said he was relieved the children were born outside of Syria, in Jordan, but admitted: "It's been difficult. We hope that things would get better and we could return to Syria but unfortunately things have not improved."

The mood lightened when William joked to the couple that they were "going to have to start loving ice hockey" now that they were living in Canada.

Mr Trudeau spoke about the importance of organisations like ISS and called their contributions to society one of the "great strengths of the country".

Outside the building hundreds of well-wishers had gathered but among them was a small group of protesters who had built a mock guillotine.

Benjamin Woo, 24, from Vancouver who held it up with a fellow demonstrator said: "We believe our constitutional monarchy is antiquated. All forms of power should be democratically controlled."

The day ended with William being hailed "one of the guys" when he met the emergency services with his wife and the Trudeaus.

The Duke, a former RAF search and rescue pilot, shared his experiences with fellow first responders, as the royals helped to highlight the impact of dangerous rescues on mental health.

Raising questions about "macho culture", he and the Duchess went on inspect the latest technology available to Canadian fire, police and coastguard services.

The Duke, who walked with Mrs Trudeau, admired the equipment displayed by Vancouver Fire and Rescue and North Shore Rescue.

"My son George would be obsessed with that," he disclosed, pointing at the fire service's new state-of-the-art truck.

After attending a meeting with the royal couple Marsha McCall, programme manager for the critical incident stress programme, said of the Duke: "He was particularly interested about stigma and the macho culture, and whether it is changing.

"Princess Kate asked us more about the support for families dealing with the same kind of things.

"He was clearly very knowledgable. You know you are talking to one of the guys. He was genuine, he really cared."

The Cambridges and the Trudeaus left on a coastguaurd hovercraft that slowly moved away from its mooring and into the water.

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