As most Albertans know, Calgary pretty much comes to a standstill over the duration of the Stampede. Since the first chuckwagon race kicked up the dust back in 1923 the city has hosted this exciting annual event, which today attracts over one million spectators. Along with the world-famous rodeo, the Stampede also hosts the fabulous opening parade, agricultural show and the midway, which features fairground rides and live concerts featuring big name acts.
But this year, there will be something of an added attraction as the Stampede coincides with the arrival of a rather special couple in Calgary. As part of their first official engagement, Royal newlyweds The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be joining in the fun at Alberta's most thrilling annual event. As part of the Canadian tour, which also includes visits to Ottawa, Quebec City and Yellowknife, the young couple, whose recent marriage was watched by an estimated 2 billion people, will arrive in Calgary on July 6.
Since news first emerged that Kate Middleton's late grandfather was stationed in Calgary during the Second World War, many Calgarians have been hoping that the young couple would include the city on their itinerary. As yet, it is not know whether Prince William and his wife will visit the Aero Space Museum, the location of the wartime facility where Peter Middleton served as a Royal Air Force flight instructor for two years.
With global interest in the Royal couple being so high, their visit to Canada will be covered heavily by the world's media. In excess of 85 reporters from the UK alone have apparently been assigned to join the tour. Canadian media has also gone into a tailspin in its response to the announcement that the couple have chosen the country as the destination of their first oversees engagement. Despite a few dissenting voices, the people of Calgary are thrilled that the couple will be stopping in the city, and their presence will only make this year's Stampede even more special.
Some locals, such as Clem Gerwing from Alberta Boot, are particularly thrilled that Kate and Wills are moseying into town. The master boot maker is creating custom footwear for the Royal couple, and as local media have been quick to point out - not for the first time. In fact, Gerwing has made bespoke cowboy boots for numerous royals, including William's father Prince Charles when he visited Calgary with his brother Prince Andrew in the late 1970s.
But whether the couple find time to attend the Stampede or not, their presence in the city during this very exciting time will only add to the wonderful atmosphere of this eagerly awaited event. And, the rest of the world will get to see just what we lucky Calgarians already know - this is undoubtedly a city fit for Kings. And Princes. And Dukes and Duchesses...