The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge didn't let a little rain ruin their high spirits as they kicked off the third day of their Canada tour in Bella Bella on Monday (Sept. 26). Despite the gloomy weather, the royal couple was all smiles as they greeted First Nation leaders and cheering crowds from the local community in the Great Bear Rainforest. An exciting traditional welcoming and cultural sharing ceremony got things started.
The Duchess was the epitome of laidback elegance as she stepped out into the rain, mastering autumnal dressing in a tailored cream jacket from Holland and Holland, paired with skinny black jeans from one of her favourite high street stores, Zara. She accessorised with knee-high brown boots by Penelope Chilvers and a pair of earrings from Canadian designer Pippa Small in a sartorial tribute to her host nation. The mother-of-two showed off the sparkling jewellery by sweeping her hair into a sleek half updo, and kept her make-up to a bare minimum.
The pair received a warm greeting by the Heiltsuk people as Hemas, a chief, and Umaks, a woman of high rank. Ahead of their arrival, the floors had been blessed in a traditional ceremony as a sign of respect. William and Kate were also shown one of the First Nations community's most precious items, a royal staff with a silver crown head, made all the more poignant due to the fact that it was gifted to the Heiltsuk people by Queen Victoria.
While Prince George and Princess Charlotte may have stayed behind with their Spanish nanny Maria, they will still be taking away a memento from the evening, as William and Kate received gifts from locals for their children. They themselves also received many presents, including blankets and 'dancing vests' with a large design of a bear surrounded by flora and fauna and a rope to represent the ocean to which they are "inextricably bound".
The Great Bear Rainforest is the world's largest temperate rainforest, stretching over 250 miles across the Central and Northern coasts of British Columbia, boasting impressive wildlife from bears to orcas. During their visit, the Duke and Duchess took the opportunity to attend a ceremony for the official dedication of the rainforest to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, as part of its forest conservation initiative.
William gave a speech during the presentation, where he thanked the Heiltsuk people for their warm welcome, as well as sharing a few words on the importance of the locals' conservation efforts. "The establishment of the Canopy is a loud and unambiguous statement that the citizens of all Commonwealth countries believe that nature is fundamental to the health of our societies," he explained.
He added: "When we protect our rivers, oceans, atmospheres, or like today,our forests, we are telling our children that their future prosperity cannot be disconnected from the health of the natural world. Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you have shown in making this contribution. I have no doubt that other Commonwealth nations will be inspired by what you have achieved here."
William and Kate had also initially planned to take an aerial tour of the rainforest before the celebrations, however the bad weather conditions meant that it had to be cancelled.
Luckily the weather had been a bit sunnier the day before, when the British royals boarded a seaplane to fly into Vancouver, later going on a hovercraft at Kitsilano Coast Guard Station in Vanier Park on Sunday.
Kate turned heads with her elegant ensemble, a red and white Alexander McQueen design in a sartorial nod to her host nation's colours. Ever the style icon, she complemented the ensemble with a chic pair of red court shoes from Russell and Bromley.
Stay tuned to HELLO! Online for the best and most comprehensive coverage as our royal reporter Emily Nash joins the Cambridge family on this historic tour.