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Canada welcomes royal family

By Tony Jones

The Duke of Cambridge has said his children were beginning their own "lifetime of friendship" with Canada as Prince George took his first tentative steps in the country.

Holding on to his parents' hands, the three-year-old future king of the north American country walked down the steps of a military plane when they arrived, while his sister, Princess Charlotte, was cradled by Kate.

The family were beginning a highly anticipated eight-day visit to the Commonwealth country which is a homecoming for the royals as Britain's monarch is also Queen of Canada.

All eyes were on the young prince and princess when they emerged from the Royal Canadian Air Force jet that had flown the Cambridges to Patricia Bay, the home of a maritime helicopter squadron close to Victoria.

They are rarely seen in public together and the tour is Charlotte's first official royal visit.

George appeared a little hesitant as he walked down the steps from the plane and, despite holding his father's hand, he reached out for his mother's dress and she quickly took his other hand.

The future king was dressed in a jumper, shirt and shorts by Pepa & Co - similar to the outfit he wore when he was taken by William to see his sister soon after she was born - while Charlotte wore a floral dress, thought to be from M&H.

Waiting at the bottom of the plane's steps to greet them was Canada's young charismatic leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who last summer invited the Cambridges to visit, and his wife Sophie Gregoire.

The politician's spouse looked stylish in a purple outfit and a trilby-style hat worn at a jaunty angle and, in the fashion stakes, held her own with Kate, who wore a blue Jenny Packham dress, the Queen's diamond maple leaf brooch and a hat by Lock & Co. As William chatted to Mr Trudeau, Kate tended to a somewhat shy George, asking "Are you okay?'' as she crouched down to hold his hand before lovingly stroking his hair and cheeks. During the formal welcome in Victoria, the prime minister joked with William and Kate, saying: "As any parent travelling with children knows, it's a whole different experience when you bring your family with you."

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