William and Kate snubbed for second time by First Nation chief on Canada visit


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received a rapturous welcome from small town Canada - but were snubbed for a second time in two days by a prominent First Nations leader.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Okanagan Nation Alliance chairman and spokesman, had been due to join the royal couple on stage at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan's 10th anniversary celebrations, but pulled out this morning.

The move came a day after he refused to attend an historic reconciliation ceremony with William and Kate at Government House in Victoria, and he was replaced in the welcome line up by Chief Jonathan Kruger from the local Penticton Indian Band.

A spokesman for UBC could not comment on why he had pulled out.

The Duke and Duchess, in a racing green Dolce & Gabbana dress and nude heels, were nevertheless greeted by more than 1,000 cheering students and members of the public when they arrived in the remote town of Kelowna to meet British Columbia premier Christy Clark and UBC Chancellor Lindsay Gordon.

Mr Gordon welcomed the couple to the Okanagan campus and to the country, saying: "A particularly warm welcome to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who we hope are enjoying their first visit to Canada. We also hope this is the first of many more family visits."

The Chancellor told the royal visitors that the Queen had visited UBC four times over the years and on her most recent visit, to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002, she was told about a new library offering state-of-the-art technology for students to research and communicate digitally.

He said about the Queen: "Despite a lifetime of daily formalities, she retains a tremendous sense of humour. Her Majesty leant over to the then President Dr Martha Piper and asked: 'Will there be any books in this new library?'"

William and Kate were then treated to the Song of Okanagan, performed by former UBC student Amber Cardenas, before Chief Jonathan Kruger addressed them in both his native language and English.

He told them: "I am very happy right now. This is our beautiful land and I'm so happy that you are all here for a beautiful event.

"Welcome to your Highnesses, please enjoy this beautiful land with your beautiful family and create beautiful memories on our lands here in BC."

Referring to the delicate issue of reconciliation between First Nations groups and the Crown, he added: "True power is human spirit. Please use that power to allocate for true reconciliation and advocate for the indigenous people in this country so they can be all great and good.

"Enjoy your stay and enjoy the gifts we are giving you, Prince, Princess and your beautiful family."

William and Kate were then presented with a gift bag of traditional foods from the region by children from the First Nations community.