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Princess Anne arrives in St. John's

Last Updated: Friday, April 23, 2010 | 7:30 PM NT

Princess Anne accepts an honorary doctorate from Memorial University in St. John's.Princess Anne accepts an honorary doctorate from Memorial University in St. John's. (CBC)

Honorary degrees and award ceremonies marked the beginning of a whirlwind weekend stop in Newfoundland for Princess Anne on Friday.

The Canadian Forces plane carrying the princess touched down just before 2:30 p.m. at the St. John's International Airport. Former lieutenant-governor Ed Roberts was on hand to greet her.

"The last time she'd been with Newfoundlanders, the last time I've seen her was at Beaumont Hamel [Newfoundland memorial in France] four years ago. She said she was glad to be back at the regiment and back with Newfoundlanders," said Roberts.

"I made a point of telling her this is the first fine day we've seen in a week and it's what we always call royal weather."

Volcanic ash in the European air space prevented the princess from making a stop in Halifax before going to Newfoundland. However, on Wednesday the Royal Newfoundland Regiment confirmed the Anne's St. John's itinerary wouldn't be affected.

Shortly after arriving at the airport, the princess was taken to Memorial University, where she was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

"It is a significant distinction and it does provide me with an even stronger link with my connection with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment," said the princess after receiving the degree.

The princess, who is the only daughter of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, then made her way to the Delta hotel in downtown St. John's, where she presented awards to young people in the Duke of Edinburgh program. The award program encourages young people to be active, participate in new activities and pursue interests in different areas.

The princess was invited to St. John's by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment's honorary colonel, Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie, to present new colours to the 1st battalion.

The presentation of colours is scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon at the Mile One Centre. The ceremony is open to the public and admission is free.

Princess Anne's weekend visit will continue on Sunday at a 9:15 a.m. service at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John's the Baptist. The general public is also welcome to attend.

Later Sunday morning, the princess is expected to visit the Caribou Memorial in the city's west end to lay a commemorative wreath in honour of Newfoundland and Labrador's fallen during the First World War.

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