Royal Visit 2016 Day 3: Will and Kate visit ‘wet but beautiful’ Bella Bella
Day 3 of the Royal Visit 2016 might just be one of the most beautiful days of the tour for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate, despite the cancellation of the boat-related excursions due to rain. The flight in was said to be so bumpy, there was talk of diverting to Port Hardy.
READ MORE: Full coverage of the royal visit
Winds were gusting, the water was choppy and it was pouring rain on British Columbia’s central coast, an area well known for its wet weather.
WATCH BELOW: Prince William and Kate arrive in Bella Bella after a bumpy flight on Day 3 of the Royal Visit to Canada.
Once again, the couple left Prince George and Princess Charlotte behind in Victoria while they travelled to the Great Bear Rainforest, including the community of Bella Bella.
William and Kate were greeted by a rousing cheer when they arrived at the Wawiskas Community Hall, where they met community members and about two dozen hereditary chiefs who were part of the official welcoming party.
“We have sat here patiently awaiting your arrival your Royal Highnesses,” Hereditary Chief Jim White said as he shook hands with the royal couple. "You have graced us with your presence.''
White said he was holding a traditional talking staff that dates backs to the time of Queen Victoria’s reign. It was one of four such staff’s presented to the central coast aboriginals as a gift from the queen more than 100 years ago, he said.
Due to the weather, Will and Kate arrived by boat and not by float plane, which was the original plan. They landed at Bella Bella Airport at 12:10 p.m. and then departed for Bachelor Bay by car.
From there they were guided by some local young people through Bella Bella to the community centre where a youth performance took place.
Next, their Royal Highnesses, accompanied by Chief Slett, left the hall and walked to the Elders’ Lodge.
There, they participated in an event marking the dedication of the Great Bear Rainforest as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) initiative, including speeches on its significance that were underway just after 2 p.m.
Eighty-five per cent of the Great Bear Rainforest is now protected under the QCC.
Watch below: Great Bear Rainforest announcements from Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, B.C. Premier Christy Clark and the Duke of Cambridge
In his speech, the Duke of Cambridge said by 2018, it’s expected that all 53 countries of the Commonwealth will join the QCC, creating a “global network of forests that will benefit indigenous communities, wildlife and tourism.”
“The establishment of the canopy is a loud and unambiguous statement…that nature is fundamental to the health of our societies,” William said.
“Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you have shown in making this contribution.”
Following that, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw one of the new walking trails being constructed in the area, before leaving for the airport and returning to Victoria.
WATCH: Prince William and Kate interact with kids in BC; receive gifts
On Monday night, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were back in Victoria, where they participated in an emotional, historic and politically charged ceremony.
Prince William added a ring of reconciliation to the Black Rod, the ceremonial staff used in the legislature when the monarch or her provincial representative is present. The ring is meant to represent the connection between the Crown, indigenous peoples and all British Columbians.
Grand Chief Ed John of B.C.’s First Nations Summit spoke at the event, saying it’s time to change how the Crown interacts with First Nations groups.
“The current Crown approach of deny and delay cannot continue,” he said. “The status quo has not served indigenous people well.”
Chiefs attending the recent annual general assembly of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs voted not to take part in the ceremony as a protest of provincial and federal government inaction on key First Nations concerns.
With files from Global’s Tanya Beja, Jon Azpiri and The Canadian Press
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.