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Prince William, duchess gather gifts from well-wishers

The new Duchess of Cambridge was showered with gifts - from head to toe - on her first overseas visit as a member of the royal family.

Palace records show Canadian officials and well-wishers gave the former Kate Middleton hats, tartan and peacock fascinators (hair ornaments) and three pairs of shoes during her visit to the country with Prince William last year.

The couple’s office, Clarence House, has published lists of all the gifts the pair received on trips in 2011.

William’s haul included shirts, cuff links, a pilot’s helmet from a unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force and a Canadian Ranger patrol knife.

Governor General David Johnson - the representative in Canada of William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II - gave the couple a quilt, while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented them with a woolen blanket, a framed photograph, souvenir edition Canadian magazines, two jackets, a bottle of whiskey and a Canadian flag.

A gift from Canada’s health minister was arguably more practical: two mosquito traps.

The royal couple, who married in April at Westminster Abbey in London, visited Canada and the U.S. between June 20 and July 10.

The American leg of the tour took in California, where they received an iPad from Gov. Jerry Brown and four coasters from the sheriff-coroner of Santa Barbara.

During a solo visit to Australia and New Zealand in March, William was given items including a papier-mache model of a cassowary - a large flightless bird - and a jar of the savory spread Vegemite.

Aretha Franklin to perform at Essence Music Festival

Newly engaged queen of soul Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Stephanie Mills and Charlie Wilson are among entertainers set to perform at this summer’s Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.

The event, set for July 6 through 8, is billed as one of the largest gatherings of black artists in the country. Performances will be held at the Superdome, while seminars with speakers, artists and authors will take place at the city’s convention center.

This will be the 18th annual Essence Music Festival and the third time Miss Franklin has performed at the event. The festival began as a one-time event celebrating the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.