William And Kate Bid A Fond Farewell
THE CANADIAN PRESS -- CALGARY - It was a poignant end to a festive day Friday as Prince William and his wife Kate paid tribute to Canada's war dead before flying out to wrap up their nine-day Canadian tour.
In a ceremony at a north-end Calgary park, the couple placed a wreath, bowed their heads and observed a few moments of silence before the Portraits of Honour mural, which depicts the faces of Canadian soldiers who died in the line of duty in Afghanistan.
William then inspected a guard of honour from Lord Strathcona's Horse of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group before the couple was given a 21-gun salute.
Story continues after the slideshow.
The Royals Leave Canada
Will and Kate wave goodbye to Calgary as they conclude their royal Canadian tour.
The Royals Sign The Guest Book
William and Kate sign the guest book at the ENMAX Conservatory in Calgary with Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, left, and Lt. Gov. Donald S. Ethell.
Kate Meets Frances Miller
The Duchess of Cambridge meets with Frances Miller as she prepares to leave Calgary with her husband to head to Los Angeles.
The Portraits Of Honour
Prince William and Catherine view the Portraits of Honour on display at their official departure ceremony in Calgary.
The Royals In The Conservatory
William and Catherine tour the ENMAX Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo.
Kate Arrives At The Zoo
The Duchess of Cambridge visits the ENMAX Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo.
The Royals And Stelmach
Will and Kate speak with Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach at the ENMAX Conservatory in Calgary.
Will And Kate In Matching Hats
The Royals at the Calgary Stampede Parade.
Will and Kate wave to the crowd while at the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Royals Watch The RCMP
Will and Kate watch the RCMP march in the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Royals Watch The Parade
The Duke and Duchess watch the beginning of the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Duke Arrives
Prince William arrives in cowboy gear to the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Royals Push The Button
Will and Kate push a button to start the Calgary Stampede parade.
The Rodeo Shocks Kate
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch a rodeo demonstration at the Calgary Stampede.
Kate And A Calgarian
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with a little girl while at the Stampede.
The Duchess Receives Flowers
Catherine meets well-wishes and receives flowers at a Government Reception in Calgary.
The Government Reception
A view of the Government Reception at the BMO Centre in Calgary.
Kate Checks Her Hat
Will and Kate watch Stampede activities in Calgary at the BMO Centre.
Will Tips His Hat
Prince William during a speech at the Calgary Stampede.
The Royals At The BMO Centre
Will and Kate watch traditional Calgary Stampede activities.
Will Gets Down To Work
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, throws a barrel into the back of a chuckwagon during his visit to the Calgary Stampede on Thursday, July 7, 2011, in Calgary, Alberta.
Royal Tour Canada
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrive via stage coach for a reception at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Canada as they continue their Royal Tour of Canada Thursday, July 7, 2011.
The Royals And Harper
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, second from right, Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Laureen Harper, left, watch a child sheep ride event at the Stampede in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday, July 7, 2011.
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper watch dancers while attending a reception at the Calgary Stampede on Thursday, July 7, 2011 in Calgary, Alberta.
The Royals Go Western
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, wear their new Smithbilt cowboy hats as they watch a rodeo demonstration in Calgary, Alberta, July 7, 2011.
The Royals Wave To Admirers
Prince William and Kate after a tour of the 21st Century Research and Innovation Centre in Calgary.
Will Waves From The Car
Prince William waves from his car with Kate on the eighth day of their Canadian tour.
The Duke And Duchess Are Greeted
Prince William and Kate are greeted when arriving at 21st Century Research and Innovation Centre Calgary.
Kate Inspects A Mannequin
Kate follows her husbands lead and saves the life of a medical test mannequin at the University of Calgary.
Will And Kate Tour U of C
Prince William and Kate are shown how to save a life with a medical test mannequin at the University of Calgary's Ward of the 21st Century.
The Royals And RCMP In Calgary
Prince William and Catherine look at a RCMP officer after arriving in Calgary.
A Calgary Chinook?
Kate's hair doesn't agree with the wind as the Royals land in Calgary for the final stretch of their Canadian tour.
Will Meets Shy Calgarian
Prince William meets -- or tries to meet -- shy 6-year-old Diamond Marshall in Calgary.
Catherine Gets A Hug
Kate hugs 6-year-old Diamond Marshall in Calgary after arriving.
Kate Is Greeted
The Duchess meets with shy 6-year-old Diamond Marshall in Calgary.
Will, Kate And Flight Crew
The Royals get their photo taken with flight crew members as they arrive in Calgary.
Will Gets A White Hat
Prince William is presented with a white cowboy hat from Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The Royals Land In Calgary
The Royals land in Calgary for the last Canadian city on their tour of the country.
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, pose for a photo with members of the Canadian Forces flight crew upon their arrival in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday, July 7, 2011.
The prince was dressed in a dark-blue blazer, while his wife wore a scarlet, satin-and-wool Marianne coat-dress by Catherine Walker, the Queen's Maple Leaf brooch on the lapel.
The ceremony capped a busy day in the southern Alberta city.
It began before 9 a.m. when the couple, dressed in cowboy garb and snow-white Stetsons, pushed a big red button to launch fireworks and sound an air horn to formally start the Stampede parade.
Minutes earlier, they toured the parade route, waving to a crowd estimated by tour organizers at 425,000, from the back of a hard-topped car. That's almost double the number who turn out for the annual event in a normal year.
The tight security that has accompanied the royals throughout their visit was evident. Nevertheless, one exuberant fan managed to break through the cordon to try to hand the couple a white gift bag and wedding card.
Marlene Gould of Chauvin, 480 kilometres northeast of Calgary, tossed the bag at the car, but it fell short and thudded harmlessly into the street.
Police officers on bicycles pedalled to catch up to her as she dashed for the royal car and appeared to shout at her to get back. Gould later told media that she was unrepentant.
"I made this bag for Will and Kate because I was so honoured that they were coming to Calgary," she said, adding the bag contained a brochure of Chauvin, "where we have the biggest softball."
She wasn't arrested and later went back to retrieve the bag.
For the parade, Kate wore blue jeans with a camisole under a sheer white blouse by London-based Alice Temperley, reportedly one of her favourite fashion designers. The prince wore jeans and a green-checked shirt.
The route underwent a last-minute change that proved a bonus for some of those lined 10-deep along the street. They doubled back over a quarter of the route, giving some fans a chance to see William going one way, and Kate the other.
"That was the good part because we got to see them both -- not just one of them," said Alexandra Finotto, 21, who showed up with her mother Annamarie.
Her mother had one complaint.
"It was wonderful, fantastic, amazing, but they went by so fast," she said.
"It was short but it was lovely," added Sonia Shillington of Calgary.
After setting off the fireworks, the royals watched part of the parade from a special viewing box. They were accompanied by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston and their wives.
They took in marching bands, parade princesses and chuckwagons. There was the whistling of flutes, the booming of drums and the clip-clopping of hundreds of horses in what is considered the grandest parade second only to the New Year's Day Rose Bowl parade.
The couple then travelled to the Calgary Zoo to meet Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. They walked through a conservatory on a pathway that winds among tropical plants and chattering birds, then did a walkabout among the people gathered outside.
Kate stopped to talk to Pam Pritchard, who was holding up a black-and-white photo of her mother meeting then-princess Elizabeth in 1951.
"Catherine said it was a wonderful photo and what a lovely keepsake and it was lovely to meet me," said Pritchard, who added her heart was thumping and she was dry-mouthed the whole time.
"William said it was a wonderful photo, asked what year it was and where it was taken, and said thank you."
There was another touching moment on the airport tarmac just before the couple left. Frances Miller, 81, who missed her chance to meet royalty when she was a girl, presented roses to the duchess.
The visit, the couple's first abroad since their April 29 wedding, was by all accounts a success.
They celebrated Canada Day with hundreds of thousands on Parliament Hill, made lobster souffle in Montreal, raced dragon boats in Prince Edward Island and canoed in the wilds of the Northwest Territories.
They also met and hugged sick children and toured homes torched by a wildfire in Slave Lake, Alta.
The visit was not without controversy. Sovereigntists in Quebec gave the duke and duchess middle-finger salutes and derided the monarchy as historical relics and "parasites."
For fans, the experience was equal parts thrilling and fleeting. Royal watching resembled whale watching. Well-wishers stood in one spot for hours to catch a three-second glimpse of the royals as they surfaced, waved and disappeared.
Some monarchy-lovers picked out prime viewing sites and stood for hours only to have a security motorcade pull up and block their view.
There were unintentionally comic moments, born out of the need to keep the royals safe.In Yellowknife, just before the royals arrived for a ball hockey game, men in dark suits and sunglasses created an impenetrable ring around the kids already at play.
Yellowknife also symbolized the couple's future.
For more than a week in Canada, they were followed everywhere and photographed constantly -- from every curl under Kate's fascinators to the indelicate wind-driven swirls of her skirts.
They thought they would get a break in Blachford Lake, tucked into the rugged rocks of the Northwest Territories .Takinga canoe out over the choppy waves with a guide, they paddled off to a distant island.
Five minutes in, other boats were spotted with rowers chugging hard to catch up for a glimpse.
A reminder to the young couple that even in a rinky-dink boat in the middle of nowhere, their lives are not their own.