The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can now count themselves among a small group of visitors who have ever been to British Columbia's stunning and remote Great Bear Rainforest.

The royal couple made a stop in the rare, coastal ecosystem on Monday — partly for pleasure, and partly on official business as Prince William endorsed the conservation of the region as part of Her Majesty the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) initiative, which aims to conserve native forests across all 52 Commonwealth countries.

Will and Kate were welcomed to the territory by the Heiltsuk First Nation, whose home in Bella Bella forms the unofficial gateway to the Great Bear Rainforest. There was song, dance, and story-telling, and anybody at the ceremony could see that the couple totally enchanted by the warm welcome and rich traditions of the community.

But in case you missed National Observer's coverage of the historic event, here are the photo highlights:

1. Hundreds packed into Heiltsuk community hall

It looked like just about all of Bella Bella turned up to the community hall on Monday afternoon for a welcoming ceremony with the royal couple. Their plane was — predictably — running late, adding extra electricity to the air in the minutes before their arrival. The Heiltsuk Nation pulled out all the stops and decorated the hall with totem poles, canvas art, and other woodwork. The chiefs donned traditional regalia and each shook hands with the Duke and Duchess.

Heiltsuk First Nation, Bella Bella, Great Bear Rainforest, Royal Tour, Will and Kate
Hundreds of observers attend the royal couple's welcoming ceremony in Bella Bella, B.C. on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

2. Bella Bella resident Alana Windsor

Alana Windsor, a Heiltsuk First Nation member who has lived in Bella Bella her entire life, sewed the buttons on traditional vests that would be gifted to Prince William and little Prince George. Her sister, Fran, made the vests themselves, and minutes before the royal couple's arrived in the small community, Windsor was nervous he may not like them!

Alana Windsor, Prince William, Heiltsuk First Nation, Bella Bella
Bella Bella resident Alana Windsor was excited and nervous for the royal couple's arrival in the Great Bear Rainforest on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

3. Chiefs bless the floor before arrival

As per tradition, Heiltsuk First Nation chiefs blessed the floor of the community hall before sharing song and dance with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The royal couple were joined for the opening ceremonies by B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Governor General of Canada David Johnston, federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, and other provincial and Indigenous representatives.

Heiltsuk First Nation, Bella Bella, Great Bear Rainforest, Royal Tour, Will and Kate

Heiltsuk First Nations chiefs bless the floor of the community hall in Bella Bella, B.C., minutes before Will and Kate pulled up in their motorcade on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016.

4. Royals welcomed with song and dance

After Will and Kate shook hands with the chiefs of the Heiltsuk First Nation, the festivities began. Youth from Bella Bella showcased their talent with two dances they had learned in school, one for girls and one for boys. Children are considered "treasures" in Heiltsuk culture, and the Duchess of Cambridge was particularly enamored by the 'Ladies Dance,' performed by Bella Bella's little girls, one of whom she is seen waving at below.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Heiltsuk First Nation, Bella Bella, Great Bear Rainforest
The Duchess of Cambridge waves at a little Heiltsuk dancer in Bella Bella during their welcoming to the Great Bear Rainforest on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

5. Prince William shares a laugh with B.C. premier

Tabloid journalists will forever be speculating what precisely caused this moment of laughter between Prince William and B.C. Premier Christy Clark during the royal couple's welcome to the Great Bear Rainforest in Bella Bella, home of the Heiltsuk First Nation. The two sat next to each other the entire time, and afterward, made a joint announcement dedicating the rainforest's conservation to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy initiative.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Christy Clark, Bella Bella
Prince William and B.C. Premier Christy Clark share a moment of laughter during the royal couple's tour of Bella Bella, B.C. on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

6. A lesson Heiltsuk history

Master of ceremonies Ian Reid walks the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge through bits and pieces of Heiltsuk history, including the story of how the nation came to a peace agreement with an enemy tribe to the south by throwing a paddle into the water, and claiming it would fight no more. The two tribes had been raiding each other's territories by canoe for decades, taking prisoners as slaves, and stealing resources. It was a very serious moment during the ceremony, which introduced Will and Kate to Heiltsuk culture and the Great Bear Rainforest they call home.

Ian Reid, Heiltsuk First Nation, Bella Bella, Great Bear Rainforest, Royal Tour
Emcee Ian Reid of the Heiltsuk First Nation gives a short history lesson to Will and Kate during their visit to Bella Bella, B.C. on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016.

7. Arrows fly across the community hall

Will and Kate, flanked by Governor General David Johnston on the left and B.C. Premier Christy Clark on the right, watch intently as young Heiltsuk men perform a traditional bows and arrows dance in the community hall of Bella Bella, B.C. To the pounding of drums, they leapt back and forth in a circle that grew bigger and bigger as more dancers flooded the floor. The music was performed by drummers sitting behind the royal couple and brought to life by a group of powerful singers whose voices echoed in the massive hall.

Heiltsuk First Nation, Bella Bella, Great Bear Rainforest, Royal Tour, Will and Kate
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge observe traditional Heiltsuk dances after arriving in Bella Bella, B.C. during their 2016 Royal Tour on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

8. A special moment

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge share a private moment during a ceremony welcoming them into the Heiltsuk First Nation territory of Bella Bella. This is the couple's second visit to Canada — their first royal tour in late June and early July 2011 was made shortly after their wedding. They visited Ontario, Montréal, Québec City, Charlottetown, Summerside, Yellowknife, Slave Lake and Calgary.

Will and Kate, royal couple, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Great Bear Rainforest, Bella Bella, Heiltsuk First Nation

Will and Kate — England's favourite couple — share a special moment during their stop in Bella Bella, B.C. on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

9. A sincere thanks for the royal visit

In a short speech after the ceremony, elected Heiltsuk Chief Marilyn Slett thanked the royals for their visit. “The interconnection between our lands and our waters cannot be understated," she told reporters. "The Heiltsulk do this work because our children and our children’s children futures depend on it. We are delighted to hear that the Duke and Duchess have expressed a strong interest in youth and our families, because we believe a healthy future depends on empowering every age group.”

Heiltsuk First Nation, Bella Bella, Great Bear Rainforest, Royal Tour, Will and Kate
Chief Marilyn Slett thanks the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their visit to Heiltsuk traditional territory on Mon. Sept. 27, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

10. A trust fund for spreading the rainforest legacy

After the opening ceremonies, at the dedication of the rainforest to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced a $1-million trust fund to commemorate the visit of Their Royal Highnesses, and spread the legacy of the rainforest’s conservation. The cash will develop student and teacher resources for learning about the rainforest, support new research and resource-based management education, and raise public awareness of the rainforest and its Indigenous peoples. It will be operational later this year, with fund disbursements overseen by an advisory board of government, First Nations, and stakeholder representatives.

Christy Clark, Steve Thomson, Great Bear Rainforest, Will and Kate
B.C. Premier Christy Clark and B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson unveil a new poster commemorating Will and Kate's visit to the Great Bear Rainforset on Mon. Sept. 26, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

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