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Long to rain over us... Royal Canadian visit deluged

By Tony Jones

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were left deluged by downpours when they visited a Canadian rainforest to inaugurate the natural wonder into a new initiative.

William and Kate were forced to change some of their programme when torrential rain swamped the rural settlement of Bella Bella in British Columbia, which has direct links to the British crown.

But they received a rapturous welcome from the small Heiltsuk First Nation community, whose claim to the lands in the area was recognised by Queen Victoria in the form of a staff, presented to the people by a representative of the monarch.

In a community hall or "big house" filled with the Heiltsuk people, William and Kate were honoured as "people of standing" - with important men known as Hemas and the women Umaks.

For her day in the Canadian wilderness Kate wore a Holland and Holland jacket and Zara jeans and, in acknowledgement of her hosts, donned earrings by Canadian designer Pippa Small.

Lining an open space in the community centre's hall were around 12 hereditary priests in their colourful ceremonial costumes with long flowing headdresses made from animal pelts.

The Duke and Duchess were greeted by each in turn before a welcoming dance was performed and musicians played drums.

A spokesman for the community said: "The welcoming dance performed was for royalty and is seen on very special occasions. It is performed every time there's anybody the community want to welcome and bring into the community as a sign of good faith."

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