William and Kate in P.E.I. after Quebec tour

Prince William and Kate have arrived in Prince Edward Island after wrapping up their two-day visit to Quebec.

Duke of Cambridge lauds Quebecers' 'vitality and vigour'

Prince William and Kate capped off their two-day visit to Quebec before arriving late Sunday afternoon in P.E.I., where they were greeted by several hundred people at the Charlottetown Airport.

The royal couple were to attend an informal media reception in the provincial capital before retiring for the night.

Sarah Simpson, 18, said she was very excited to be part of the welcoming party.

Prince William is greeted by two young girls upon arriving in Charlottetown on Sunday. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))

Her seven-member piping band, from the College of Piping and Celtic Arts of Canada, played as the couple stepped off the plane.

"I've been a huge fan of the monarchy since I was really little," Simpson said moments before the plane touched down. "This is like a dream come true playing for William and Kate."

William and Kate will remain on the Island until late Monday, visiting both Charlottetown and Summerside during their stay.

Earlier in the day, Prince William paid tribute to Quebec City's "beauty and history" in a brief speech there delivered entirely in French.

In a ceremony at city hall, the royal couple also reviewed and paid tribute to members of the province's storied Royal 22nd regiment, known as the Van Doos, following their recent return from Afghanistan.

"For me, as a soldier and an airman, it is a privilege to have inspected a great regiment like the Royal 22nd," William said in his remarks. "Your reputation is as strong as it is legendary."

Quebec City, he said, "has such beauty and history."

"You, the Québécois and Québécoises, have such vitality and vigour."

The prince thanked Quebecers "for your patience with my accent" and expressed the hope that "we will have the chance to get to know each other over the years to come."

After the ceremony, William and Kate, flanked by a security detail, greeted supporters and well-wishers, accepting flowers from a young girl and shaking hands. The move broke with protocol, as there had been no official walkabouts planned in Quebec because of security concerns.

Meanwhile, pro-sovereignty protesters had gathered near city hall but were kept well away from the celebrations. 

Police closed a lot of the side streets leading to the building, the CBC's Peter Akman reported. Some people weren't willing to clear the area where the royal motorcade was to arrive, and one person was taken into custody, Akman said.

There were a few hundred demonstrators in the streets protesting the royal couple's presence in the province.

"We do not recognize the authority, the legitimacy, of the Crown, of the monarchy here in Quebec, and it's not a national symbol for us," said Maxime Laporte of the Réseau de résistance du Québécois.

"It's rather a symbol of imperialism, of war crimes against humanity, against our people."

The pro-independence group claimed responsibility for a banner carrying the slogan "Vive le Québec libre" that flew from an airplane over Quebec City.

The visit to Quebec City rankles many sovereigntists. One reason is that William and Kate visited the Citadelle, a fortified residence at the foot of the Plains of Abraham. It was the scene of the 1759 pivotal battle in which French troops were defeated by the British.

Earlier Sunday, the royal couple disembarked from a Canadian Forces vessel to begin their tour of the provincial capital. A 40-minute prayer service on the flight deck of HMCS Montreal began the fourth day of their nine-day tour of Canada.

Duchess wears dress by Canadian designer

The pair sat in the front row and sang the first hymn alongside sailors and dignitaries on board the vessel. The duchess wore a blue, lace Jacquenta dress by Canadian designer Erdem Moralioglu, according to the couple's press secretary.

A model is seen wearing the dress in a photo on the Erdem website categorized under the pre-fall 2011 collection.

The Montreal-born, London-based Moralioglu behind the Erdem label created another lacy frock worn by Kate on Day 1 of her first official visit abroad. Kate stepped off a Canadian Forces jet Thursday in Ottawa in an elbow-length, dark-coloured Erdem dress.

By mid-afternoon Sunday, Kate had switched outfits, stepping out in a pale-coloured Vanessa sleeveless crepe dress by Joseph for an appearance in Lévis.

William and Kate's first stop in Quebec City was at street youth community centre La Maison Dauphine.

Prince seemed 'like normal guy'

There, they met a colourfully attired 24-year-old with tattoos on every limb and his neck, a Mohawk haircut with green spray on his outstanding patch of hair, green-sprayed braids protruding from the back, a nose ring, lobe-stretching earrings and a metal-spiked jean jacket.

He just shrugged when asked whether he was excited about meeting the royals. But at the end of the visit, the young man had warmed up quite considerably and said William "seemed like a normal guy."

Then it was off to city hall for William and Kate.

The royal couple later visited Forts-de-Lévis, a complex built between 1865 and 1872 under the supervision of British military engineers, for a community celebration, where a family-filled crowd waited for them. They again broke protocol by greeting some of those gathered to wish them well. Their longer-than-expected walkabout put the royal tour 15 to 20 minutes behind schedule.

William and Kate have had a superb time in Canada so far and have been "bowled over" by the welcome they've received everywhere, their royal spokesman Miguel Head told The Canadian Press.

Yellowknife and Calgary are their other Canadian stops before they leave for California on Friday.

Head was reluctant to discuss the muted weekend protests by Quebec sovereigntists.

"What they've seen in Quebec, in Montreal the last two days is, for them, just part of the rich fabric of Canada and in no way detracts from how much they respect and admire the country," Head said.

Security tightened

William and Kate were greeted by a mixture of cheers and boos as they arrived in the province on Saturday to visit patients in the neo-natal and cancer units of a Montreal children's hospital.

Several dozen protesters pushed toward police lines, yelling and waving the fleur-de-lis.

"We don't want [the monarchy], we didn't vote for it. it was imposed on us. So I came here to protest about that," one man said.

Another protester, Michael Renaud, objected to the cost of the royal visit and came carrying a banner that read "Go Home Parasites."

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, leave HMCS Montreal as they arrive in Quebec City on Sunday. ((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press))

William and Kate were whisked inside Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre so fast that the hundreds who did line the streets to show their support didn't even catch a glimpse of the couple.

The tightened security left many in the crowd carrying home wilting flowers and homemade cards.

"I think it's really embarrassing, actually," said one woman. "We're not showing them our best welcome when they're met with these buffoons who are yelling at them and criticizing them for who they are."

But one little girl was pulled from the crowd to present Kate with a bouquet of flowers.

"I feel special. I just met the duchess and I feel very happy," the girl said.

With files from The Canadian Press