- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2011

Friday was a royal watcher’s bonanza, with wedding vows, an official visit _ and poignant reminders of princesses past.

Monaco’s Prince Albert II took the plunge with Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock of South Africa, marrying her in a civil ceremony ahead of a religious service Saturday. His father, Prince Rainier III, wed Hollywood actress Grace Kelly in the tiny country 55 years ago.

British royal newlyweds Prince William and Kate _ the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge _ won raucous cheers from an estimated 300,000 people while touring Ottawa on Canada’s national holiday. It was their first official visit abroad after their widely watched wedding in April.

And admirers of the late Princess Diana gathered at the gates of Kensington Palace in London to leave tributes to her and share their memories on what would have been the 50th birthday of “the people’s princess.”

Kathy Martin of Australia who left a tribute at the gates said both Grace and Diana were icons who died in car accidents at a young age _ Grace in 1982 and Diana in 1997.

“They’ll be remembered as princesses _ beautiful, radiant princesses,” Martin said.

Diana also was on the minds of some Canadians in the crowd greeting her son, William, and his wife.

“Happy Birthday Lady Di. Canadians love you,” read one sign held up during the Canada Day celebrations.

The red-and-white-clad crowd chanted “Will and Kate” frequently during their appearance on Parliament Hill to mark Canada’s 144th birthday on the second day of the royal visit.

Kate was similarly attired in Canada’s colors, wearing a cream dress by the London designer Reiss, complete with a maple leaf brooch, and a brilliant red hat topped with a maple leaf. Queen Elizabeth II loaned the brooch to the duchess for the tour; the queen wore it in 1951 as a princess on her first visit to Canada.

William, who wore a blue suit and a red tie, thrilled the crowd as he spoke in English and French for the second day in a row and drew loud cheers when he referred to his grandmother as “the queen of Canada.”

He also reminded the crowd how Kate’s grandfather “held Canada dear to his heart” after training in the province of Alberta as a young pilot in World War II.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed the royal couple as “the world’s most famous newlyweds.”

Their other stops in Canada include Quebec City and Calgary before traveling to Los Angeles on July 8.

In sun-splashed Monaco, residents of the principality cheered as Prince Albert and his new bride appeared at a palace window, waved and kissed shyly after exchanging vows in the civil ceremony.

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