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Harper to send Canadian books, blanket to Prince George

Britain's Prince William holds the Prince of Cambridge, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, as he and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge pose for photographers outside St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London where the Duchess gave birth on Monday.

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Just a few days old and Prince George is already getting a Canadian blankie, mukluks and a crocodile.

Gifts are rolling in for the newborn, who is third in line to the throne. The federal government announced on Thursday it will send Canadian children's books and a handmade muskox wool blanket to the first-born son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and make a $100,000 charitable donation in his honour.

Canada's gift includes books in English and French, and the blanket, which is "reflective of our country's rich and diverse culture," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an written statement.

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The blanket is being made of cream-coloured qiviut, or muskox wool, with a white border. The Arms of Canada and the Prince's date of birth will be embroidered in the corner.

The $100,000 donation will go to a Canadian charity that can "improve the lives of children," but the recipient has not been announced. The 11 books will be a personal gift on behalf of Mr. Harper, his wife, Laureen Harper, Governor-General David Johnston and his wife, Sharon Johnston.

"These gifts symbolize our warm ties to our Royal Family, honouring our close and enduring relationship," Mr. Harper said in the statement.

The Prince was born Monday and is the first child of William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess. The boy's name, George Alexander Louis, was announced on Wednesday. The royal couple issued a statement through their website, thanking well-wishers for gifts but urging them to consider donating to charity instead.

"To harness this extraordinary generosity of spirit, they suggest people might at this time look to support those more in need; perhaps a children's charity local to them, as a way of marking the birth of their child," the statement said.

It did not stop the gifts from coming. Shawn Atleo, national chief of Canada's Assembly of First Nations, sent Prince George a pair of baby mukluks on behalf of himself and his wife.

Australia's Northern Territory announced on Thursday that it would give a crocodile – since named George – that hatched on Dec. 3, the day the Prince's conception was announced. Since the croc could grow as long as six metres, it will be kept in Australia and the young Prince will have yearly updates (if he has not noticed them online, where George the Royal Crocodile has his own Facebook page).

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"We know that Prince George and the royal couple will be receiving many gifts of congratulations from all around the world – this is something unique to the Northern Territory," said Adam Giles, chief minister of the outback province.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd planned on sending a copy of a popular children's book and a stuffed animal, and would name part of a zoo for young George. Mr. Rudd's predecessor, Julia Gillard, had been hand-knitting a toy kangaroo for the baby, but was ousted as party leader and prime minister last month.

The books being sent to Prince George from Canada include the children's classics Le chandail de hockey (The Hockey Sweater) by Roch Carrier, and Robert Munsch's Love You Forever. The Prince will also receive several titles that have won the Governor-General's Literary Award. They include Alphabeasts by Wallace Edwards, Amos's Sweater by Janet Lunn and Kim LaFave, Cats' Night Out by Caroline Stutson and Jon Klassen, A Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Kady MacDonald Denton, Le gros monstre qui aimait trop lire by Lili Chartrand and Roger Girard, Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson and Rob Gonsalves, Lili et les poilus by Caroline Merola, The Party by Barbara Reid and Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault.

With a report from the Associated Press

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Josh is a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa. Before moving to the nation's capital in 2013, he covered provincial affairs in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. He joined the Globe in 2008 in Toronto before returning to his home province in 2010. More

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