The Duchess of Cambridge pulled out all the stops in an eye-catching designer dress as she and Prince William began the second day of their royal tour of Canada.

In a nod to the Canadian flag, Kate opted for a red and white Alexander McQueen dress for her first full day of public engagements.

The couple boarded a seaplane from Victoria to Vancouver, where they were met by thousands of well-wishers who had gathered on a cool, damp morning to catch their first glimpse of the royals.

But those hoping to see the youngest visitors were left disappointed as Prince George, three, and 16-month-old Princess Charlotte were left with their nanny at Government House in Victoria.


The 35-minute flight between Victoria and Vancouver offered the couple stunning views of the Georgia Strait.

A royal aide said: "They spent a lot looking out of the window and talking to the pilot. The duke was very interested in the landing and the different conditions they work in.

"They spent a lot of time looking at the incredible views from both sides of the plane."

Their landed in Coal Harbour in the heart of Vancouver, where they were greeted on the dock by the premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark.

Thousands of people packed into nearby Jack Poole Plaza, standing 10 deep behind the barriers with cameras and phones held aloft as William and Kate shook hands with the well-wishers.

Wolf whistles and cheers filled the air as people thrust flowers, children's books, a teddy bear and, bizarrely, a book on the royal family.

One person was even heard to shout at the duchess "you're so pretty", prompting a grin and a wave from Kate.

The very public welcome, a Kensington Palace spokesman said, would "allow The Duke and Duchess to get an immediate sense of Vancouver's energy and dynamism".

William and Kate next went to the Downtown East Side of Vancouver to meet the team at Sheway, a charity that has achieved remarkable things for vulnerable mothers who are battling addiction and other issues.

William and Kate hold teddy bears they received during a tour of Sheway, a centre that provides support for native women. Photo / AP
William and Kate hold teddy bears they received during a tour of Sheway, a centre that provides support for native women. Photo / AP

The link between addiction and family breakdown is something that has been a major priority of the duchess's charitable work.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie, joined the royal couple for a visit to the Immigration Services Society of British Columbia.

Here they met staff and volunteers who support over 25,000 migrants to Canada each year, including some of the 30,000 who have recently fled war-torn Syria.