LONDON Prince William and his bride will travel thousands of miles from Canada's north to Southern California on their first official overseas trip, royal officials said Monday.
William and the former Kate Middleton will visit several cities in Canada from June 30 to July 8, taking in the country's north, south, east and west. It will be their first overseas trip as a married couple.
Palace officials said the couple will visit Canada's capital, Ottawa and the surrounding region; Montreal and Quebec City in the francophone province of Quebec; Charlottetown and Summerside on Prince Edward Island; the Northwest Territories capital of Yellowknife and the oil boom town of Calgary, Alberta. Their Alberta visit coincides with the opening of the city's world-famous rodeo event, the Calgary Stampede.
The couple, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, married April 29 at Westminster Abbey.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he hoped the visit would foster bonds between the couple and his country, just like those between William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and Canada. The queen is the head of state in Canada, a member of the British Commonwealth of former colonies, and she has in the past referred to it as her second home.
"I am confident that, in coming to know this country and its people better, the Duke and Duchess will develop their own enduring bonds of affection for Canada and Canadians as has been the case with Her Majesty The Queen over sixty years, which began with her own very first tour as Princess Elizabeth at the age of 25 in 1951," Harper said.
The newlywed couple's first event of the tour will be taking part in Canada Day celebrations on July 1 in Ottawa with Harper, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore said.
"We expect tens of thousands of people to come out. It will be in fact, I think, perhaps the largest Canada Day celebration in history on Parliament Hill," Moore said.
The couple will also help open the Calgary Stampede when they are in Alberta, he said.
Canadian taxpayers will pay for the costs associated with the visit. Moore would not give an estimate of the total, but said it would be significantly less than the $2 million spent for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Canada last year.
The couple's trip to Canada will be followed by a July 8-10 stop in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.