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Bittersweet day for Wills as pomp, protests greet royal couple

Wills and Kate greeted like rock stars on what would have been the 50th birthday of his late mother, Princess Diana

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Royal rock stars William and Kate are sailing into their second day in Canada amid the prospect of pomp, pageantry and protests -- and, for William, a bittersweet day of his own.

Today would have been the 50th birthday of his late mother, Princess Diana.

But aside from that poignant issue, the wildly popular young newlyweds are apparently set for a day of adoring fans doing their best to make the couple feel welcome.

Here's the story from Canadian Press this morning:

OTTAWA -- Pomp, pageantry and protests are expected to colour Prince William and Kate's first full day in Canada as the royal couple joins the country's birthday celebrations.

Hundreds of spots along the royal route in Ottawa this morning have already been snapped up by avid Canada Day celebrants.

Parliament Hill is a checkerboard of red T-shirts, big hats and signs proclaiming love for the royal couple, who will attend the marquee noon show.

The festivities boast a roster of performers that includes Newfoundland band Great Big Sea, Quebec's Sam Roberts Band and YouTube sensation Maria Aragon.

Aragon became a household name when a video of her performing Lady Gaga's "Born This Way'' made headlines around the world. The 10-year-old has since performed with Lady Gaga herself, as well as with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Souvenir stands are also already popping up downtown, one selling a replica of Kate's engagement ring, which once belonged to William's mother Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

Today would have been her 50th birthday.

But royal watchers on the Hill have a few hours to wait yet.

William and Kate's first stop of the day is a citizenship ceremony where they'll participate in the swearing in of around 25 new Canadians at the Museum of Civilization.

Protests are expected outside that event by those who argue its time for new citizens to be swearing allegiance to Canada, not the monarchy.

The royal couple enjoyed an adoring welcome Thursday in Ottawa from the moment their trans-Atlantic flight touched down.

Throngs of delighted fans were on hand to greet the duke and duchess before they took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial in the heart of the city's downtown core.

That was followed by a walkabout among the thousands of people lining the memorial square, many of whom had begun lining the streets several hours before the royal couple's arrival.

That was followed by an official welcome ceremony at Rideau Hall where William expressed the couple's long-standing desire to pay Canadians a visit.

"Catherine and I are so delighted to be here in Canada, instilled in us by our parents and grandparents, who loved this country. We've been looking forward to this moment for a very long time,'' William told roughly 6,000 onlookers.

"And before we were married, we had a longing to come here together.''

The couple later met with youth volunteers at a barbecue and reception.

The duke and duchess will remain in Ottawa until Saturday, before travelling to Montreal, Quebec City, Charlottetown, Yellowknife and Calgary. They will leave for California on July 8.

More than 1,300 journalists have been accredited to cover the royal tour, including more than 200 from countries other than Canada.

That's far more than the 20 foreign journalists who came along for the Queen's visit to Canada last summer. This year's international contingent hails from 13 different countries, including Qatar, Japan, India and China.

The British media has nearly 100 journalists in Canada covering the royal tour and their stories have gushed about Canadian's love of Kate.

"Kate given rapturous welcome in Ottawa'' screamed a top headline on The Telegraph website, ``Kate-mania!'' declared The Daily Mail.

The Telegraph described Kate's grip on the crowds as thousands "cheered her every step.''

"Many of them chanted her name, rock star-style,'' wrote the newspaper. "Ottawa will be remembered as the city where international Kate-mania was born.''

That term turned into a buzzword for many outlets, including the Daily Mail, which described the frenzy sparked by the royals as "the type of hysteria normally reserved for the likes of home-grown pop star Justin Bieber.''

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