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George and Charlotte win hearts in Canada

Press AssociationPress Association 24/09/2016 By Tony Jones

Prince William says his children are 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 Canada walked down the steps of a military plane when they arrived, while Princess Charlotte was cradled by Kate.

The family of four 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.

During a ceremonial welcome in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, William told a crowd of thousands gathered outside the imposing Legislative Assembly of British Columbia: "Catherine and I are delighted to be back in Canada. When we were here last time, we had been married only three months.

"The warm welcome that you gave us at that important moment in our lives meant a lot to us - and we have never forgotten it.

"That is why we are so pleased that George and Charlotte can be with us in Canada this time round, beginning their own lifetime of friendship with this wonderful country."

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, but George travelled to Australia and New Zealand with his parents in 2014 when he was nine months old.

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

During the formal welcome Prime Minster Justin Trudeau 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.

"I want to commend you and thank you for introducing our part of the world to Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Although let me caution you from my own experience, if they are anything like our kids, getting them back on the plane after a visit to our beautiful west coast will really be a challenge."

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