King Philippe and Queen Mathilda arrived in Ottawa on Sunday, 11 March 2018, for a 7-day state visit to Canada, aboard an Airbus A330.

Canadian Mounties stand to attention as King Philipe and Queen Matilde arrive in Ottawa. Photo: Facebook/Belgian Monarchy

The Royal couple were accompanied by six government ministers, a state secretary, approximately 125 entrepreneurs and CEOs, 20 academics, senior officials and media, with a total of over 200 people as part of the delegation.

They will carry out official engagements in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, including World War I centenary commemorations at the Canadian War Museum.

Photo: Facebook/Belgian Monarchy

One-quarter of the 61,000 Canadians killed during the Great War were buried in Belgian soil.

Governor-General of Canada Julie Payette will welcome King Philippe and Queen Matilde at an official ceremony, military honours, at her official residence, Rideau Hall, at 10.00 am local time.

King Philippe will then conduct an inspection of a guard of honour, followed by speeches.

Afterwards, the Governor-General, the Royal Couple and the Belgian delegation will attend a meeting in the Large Dining Hall.

Following the meeting, King Philippe and Queen Matilde will plant a sugar maple (Acer saccharum) in the grounds at Rideau Hall, to commemorate their state visit, symbolising the friendship between the two countries.

Their visit takes place in the Canadian spring when the tree sap, later to be transformed into maple syrup, starts to flow.

So far, over 150 commemorative trees were planted which mark visits by members of the Royal Family, heads of state and other dignitaries.

The Governor-General’s Official Residence, Rideau Hall, Ottawa.

The Governor-General will host a State Dinner at Rideau Hall for her royal guests at 7.00 pm.

On Tuesday, 13 March, King Philippe and Queen Matilde will host a concert in the Governor-General’s honour at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau.

The concert will highlight cultural cooperation and connections between Belgium and Canada.

At this stage, there is no news whether King Felipe and Queen Matilde will meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The last Belgian state visit to Canada occurred in 1977 when King Baudouin met Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father.

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