The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge wave to the crowds as they take part in a ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Thursday, June 30, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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.
Day 2 promises a busy and even longer schedule for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will make a number of appearances in Ottawa.
William and Kate begin their day at a citizenship ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Civilization across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que., where they are expected to be met by demonstrators.
A small group of people is planning to strum guitars and wave placards to protest having to swear the mandatory oath of allegiance to the Queen.
A more welcoming crowd is expected on Parliament Hill for Canada Day festivities, where the royal celebrities are expected to draw larger-than-usual crowds to the annual July 1 celebration.
The festivities, which get underway at around noon ET, 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.
The royal couple is slated to return to Parliament Hill to attend an evening show.
Friday also coincides with another significant milestone for William, marking what would have been the 50th birthday of his mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
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 Prince 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," Prince 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."