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Published: Sunday, 7/3/2011

Rare protest greets royal pair in Quebec

Friendly crowds outnumber demonstrators

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge follow a bagpiper as they arrive for a tree-planting ceremony -- a royal family tradition -- at Government House in Ottawa. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge follow a bagpiper as they arrive for a tree-planting ceremony -- a royal family tradition -- at Government House in Ottawa.
CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge

MONTREAL -- Prince William and his wife were met by a small group of protesters Saturday in the French-speaking province of Quebec as the two visited a children's hospital during a nine-day trip through Canada on their first official overseas trip.

About 35 protesters, including members of the separatist group Quebecker Resistance Network, stood outside Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre in Montreal chanting, "A united people will never be vanquished."

Dressed in black capes, the protesters were drumming and booing as the royal couple's motorcade pulled up to the hospital. Prince William was whisked into the hospital as his wife stepped out of the car and smiled at the crowd before going in.

The demonstrations were a rare moment of criticism aimed at the young royals, who have for the most part been welcomed with open arms by Canadians eager to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.

The protesters were outnumbered about 10 to one by royal-couple supporters gathered outside the hospital.

Later, the royal couple, now officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were to don aprons and take part in a cooking workshop in Montreal before boarding a navy ship for an overnight trip down the St. Lawrence Seaway to Quebec City.

Before heading to the French-speaking city, the couple started the third day of their tour in Ottawa with a tree-planting ceremony at Government House that has become a royal family tradition, plus a visit to the Canadian War Museum.

The couple each wielded a shovel as they helped plant a Canadian hemlock -- a tree known for its longevity, meant to symbolize their marriage.

The royal couple chatted with Canadian newlyweds who were married on April 29, the same day as their royal wedding, as well as couples celebrating their 40th, 50th, 60th, and 70th anniversaries.

The couple then attended a reception at the Canadian War Museum with veterans

Saturday's small, low-key gatherings in Ottawa contrasted with Friday's celebration of Canada Day, when the young couple stole the show as they were feted by Canadian leaders and cheered by tens of thousands who lined the streets.



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