Charles and Camilla’s Official Visit to Canada: May 20-23
As part of the Diamond Jubilee Tours undertaken by members of the Royal Family to each of the Commonwealth Realms, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to Canada. Despite the relative low-key nature of the visit, the royal couple received a very warm welcome; wherever they went, thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to greet them.
When the royal couple arrived to Canadian Forces Base, Prince Charles talked of his days as a young naval pilot on exercises. The Prince, then 26-year old, spent five weeks living in a tent at the base. Speaking to an audience of officers and their families, as well as World War II veterans and other dignitaries, the Prince said: “I am delighted that my wife and I are beginning this – my 16th – visit over the past 40 years to Canada where I have fond memories of my own military service, as a young naval helicopter pilot, in the 1970s… As the father of two serving sons in the armed forces, who seem to have become hereditary helicopter pilots, I am greatly looking forward to talking to members and veterans of Her Majesty’s Canadian Armed Forces … and to recognise their particular form of service to the nation.”
Another symbolic part of the tour was the gathering of First Nations Chiefs. Prince Charles received a traditional welcome before holding talks with the indigenous leaders. The Monarchy has very close relationship with the Firsts Nations people; Prince Charles himself has been given an unofficial title of Pisimwa Kamiwohkitahpamikohk (meaning “the sun looks at him in a good way” in Cree) in Saskatchewan.
One of the most significant parts of this visit was awarding Diamond Jubilee Medals to six Canadians – one for each decade of the Queen’s reign – for their outstanding contribution and. Among those honoured was 13-year old Marshall Howard who has been campaigning and fundraising in support of Canada’s Armed Forces. Before presenting the teenager with the medal, Prince Charles said: “Despite being only 13, he has given his own time and energy to raise money for a scholarship in memory of Private David Greenslade, a soldier from St John who lost his life in Afghanistan. This remarkable example of service to the wider community is something of which Marshall’s family and indeed all Canadians can rightly be immensely proud.”
Another recipient of the Diamond Jubilee Medal was Jennifer Carhart – principal of Hazen White-St. Francis School. The school was nearly closed down in 2008 but the entire community – parents, businesses and the teachers – helped to save it. After touring the school, unsuspecting Jennifer Carhart was awarded the medal. Such is her contribution to not only the school but community in general, that New Brunswick Premier David Alward couldn’t contain emotions when he described her work. Mrs. Carhart said of her medal: “It’s a great sense of recognition for me as well. I do what I do because I love what I do. It’s the greatest honour you could get in return.” A more light-hearted episode occurred when Prince Charles surprised everyone when he decided to join pupils in a game of shinny – and even managed to score against them.
The royal couple showed their musical side when they celebrated New Brunswick’s cultural heritage in Saint John’s district; as the Duchess came across an Arcadian music group, she tried her hand at playing wooden spoons, while Charles played the drums. Later, the Duchess of Cornwall visited the Queen’s Own Rifles – a regiment she has been Colonel-in-Chief since 2010 – to recognise its distinguished service. The Duchess has special ties with Canada; she is a 3rd great-granddaughter of Sir Allan MacNab, Premier of the Province of Canada before Canadian Confederation was established.
One of the highlights of the visit was the celebration of Victoria Day. The holiday, which was celebrated on May 21st this year, has been observed since before Canada was formed. It celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria (hence the name), as well as the official birthday of the Canadian Sovereign of the time. The royal couple attended a concert dedicated to the occasion, witnessing an impressive firework display.Filed under British Royals
Tagged Canada, Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, Military, Official Visit, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales.