Prince William and Kate tour Canada war memorial

OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 30: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Macdonald-Cartier International Airport on June 30, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple have arrived in Canada today for their first joint overseas tour. Ottawa is the start of a 12-day visit to North America which will take in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple will also join millions of Canadians to take part in tomorrow's Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Chris Jackson
Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, wave to the crowds as they take part in a ceremony at the War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada, on their first official overseas trip, June 30, 2011.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatric

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

(CBS/AP) -- Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, began their first official tour overseas Thursday, laying a wreath at Canada's National War Memorial as excited onlookers screamed with delight and showered the young royals with flowers and gifts.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stepped off a Canadian military plane into bright sunshine at Ottawa's international airport and shook hands on the tarmac with Foreign Minister John Baird and other officials. They then headed straight to the memorial.

Kate switched out of the royal blue dress she wore when she boarded at London's Heathrow airport into a navy, three-quarter-sleeved, lacy, form-fitting dress by Canadian designer Erdem Moralioglu. William wore his customary dark blue suit with a red tie.

At the memorial, William and Kate stood side by side next to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, before they laid a wreath on the Tomb of Unknown Solider.

Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, secretary to the duke and duchess, said the couple were keen for this visit to the memorial to be their very first stop, particularly as Canada's combat role in Afghanistan is drawing to an end.

Later, the royals are scheduled to attend an official welcome followed by a barbecue for young people.

The newlyweds will stay in Canada for nine days and among other things will take part in Canada Day celebrations, open the world-renowned Calgary Stampede and hand out flags to newly minted Canadians at a citizenship ceremony before jetting off to Los Angeles.

The young prince and his wife have star power to burn and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore reckons this will be  the most-watched royal tour in Canada's history.

Canada's prime minister has unveiled a personal flag for use during William's visit. It is the first flag to be created by Canada for a member of the royal family since 1962, when the queen adopted a personal flag for her own use in Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the flag was approved by Queen Elizabeth II and William.

During the visit, the young prince will demonstrate his skills as a helicopter rescue pilot by taking part in a water landing demonstration, and the couple is scheduled to put on aprons and take part in a cooking workshop in Quebec City.

But William and Kate won't be welcomed by all. Some anti-royal protests are expected in the French-speaking province of Quebec, with small groups planning protests in Quebec City and Montreal.

Canadian officials have estimated the royal visit will cost the Canadian government about $1.55 million dollars, not including security.

Following their nine-day tour of Canada, Wililam and Kate will jet to Los Angeles on July 8 and will host a gala dinner there the next night to introduce up-and-coming British film talent to Hollywood executives.