Prince Charles and Camilla visit Ottawa today as their first Canadian tour in years continues


Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will visit Ottawa on this second day of their royal visit to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – a city he recently called “the storied capital at the heart of a great nation”.

The heir to the throne and future queen consort are on their first visit to Canada in five years. This long absence was largely due to the COVID-19 health crisis which put an end to this type of trip.

Speaking shortly after arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday, Charles said the tour, like the Platinum Jubilee itself, is “a celebration of people and service to community and country.” He said Canadians are an “outward-looking, big-hearted people” who have endured the pandemic with grace and dignity.

In a speech at the Confederation Building in St. John’s, Charles said the Queen had become “very attached to Canada” as she was the reigning monarch while much of “Canadian history has been written”.

Highlighting her presence at the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the signing of the Constitution Act, Charles said the Queen was proud to see what Canada has become – a diverse and generous country that is “a force for good in the world”.

“Personally, Canada and Canadians have held a very special place in my life since my very first visit here over half a century ago,” said Charles. “Time and time again I have seen what makes this country truly great – its people and what they stand for.”

Meetings with the Ukrainian community, Afghan refugees

Charles praised Canada’s efforts to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, to welcome refugees fleeing violence, and to fight climate change through green initiatives.

With these questions in mind, Charles will travel today to the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in Ottawa to meet with members of the local Ukrainian-Canadian community, participate in a “sustainable financial commitment” to discuss market solutions to climate change and pay tribute to the National War Memorial. He is also to meet a group of women who fled the conflict in Afghanistan.

Charles and Camilla will later visit Assumption Elementary School in Ottawa’s Vanier neighborhood to talk about the importance of literacy and meet with parents and students.

Later, the royal couple will watch a performance of the famous RCMP Carousel and stroll through the stables with Force Commissioner Brenda Lucki. Both Charles and Camilla are horse lovers.

Charles also said he would use this tour to learn more about what Canada is doing to come to terms with Indigenous peoples after centuries of colonial violence.

Charles said that before the trip he spoke with Governor General Mary Simon about the country’s reconciliation efforts. Simon — the first Indigenous person to hold this position — will greet the royal couple at Rideau Hall later in the evening.

“As we envision our collective future as one people, sharing one planet, we must find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of the past,” Charles said Tuesday. “Acknowledge, reconcile and strive to do better – it’s a process that starts with listening.”

On tomorrow’s leg of the three-day trip, Charles will meet with Indigenous peoples from the Northwest Territories.

Prince Charles reacts by trying his hand at tapestry with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in the village of Quidi Vidi, a fishing village east of St. John’s, during their Canadian tour on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

This relatively short royal tour was criticized by some monarchists in Canada. Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge took part in an eight-day Caribbean tour earlier this year for Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Monarchists have said Canada – one of the oldest members of the Commonwealth of Nations and a country with a long history with the Crown – deserves more in this special year.

Charles’ itinerary for the tour was planned by Canadian Heritage, the federal department that manages all things royal, with input from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“We must see the future king”

Nathan Tidridge, vice-president of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada and a researcher on Crown-Indigenous relations, said it was important that Charles and other members of the royal family regularly visited Canada to continue the centuries-old relationship. between Indigenous peoples and the Crown.

While also frustrated with the tour’s limited schedule, Tidridge said he was happy to see the itinerary includes time to engage with Indigenous peoples.

“We have to see the future king in this country. The Queen said, ‘I have to be seen to be believed’ and the same is true here,” Tidridge said in an interview with CBC News.

Tidridge said the Crown and its representatives have always been a key part of treaty relations.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meet residential school survivors and elders in St. John’s at the start of a three-day royal tour on Tuesday. (The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson)

Some proclamations and treaties — such as the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which governed early colonial expansion policies, and the Treaty of Niagara of 1764, which defined how the English would interact with First Nations — were signed by the Crown although before there was a “Canada” or a federal government in Ottawa.

Tidridge said the relationship with Indigenous peoples soured once the country embraced its system of responsible government and elected officials passed discriminatory laws like the Indian Act, which helped establish the boarding school system.

For this reason, Tidridge said, many First Nations, Métis and Inuit people view the nation-to-nation relationship as one with the Crown, not the federal government.

Tidridge cited earlier comments by former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, who once said that it is the role of the government of the day to “operationalize the treaty obligations held by the Crown”, while the Queen and her successors “are the guardians and witnesses of this unchanging relationship.”

“By abandoning the monarchy, by abolishing the Crown, you would actually be advancing the colonial project, because then that treaty relationship would now be entirely in the hands of a colonial government that thinks in four-year electoral cycles. Whereas the Crown , it’s here forever,” Tidridge said.