Britain's Prince Charles, right, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attend an official welcome ceremony in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Picture: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP

Ottawa - Prince Charles has been awarded the Order of Canada, which is the country's top civilian honor and recognizes outstanding achievement and service to the nation, officials said on Friday.

Charles is first in line to the British throne after Queen Elizabeth, Canada's head of state.

He and his wife Camilla are in Canada for an official visit and to participate in the country's 150th anniversary celebrations on July 1.

Canadian security forces are turning the nation's capital into a fortress ahead of a huge weekend sesquicentennial celebration set to attract a half-million people.

The Order of Canada announcement was made by Governor-General David Johnston, the Queen's representative in Canada.

Although the award is normally given only to Canadian citizens, members of the royal family are eligible to be named to the order's Extraordinary Companion category.

Apart from Charles, the only other person named as an extraordinary companion is his father Prince Phillip, the Queen's husband, who received the honor in 2013.