Royal visit to Whistlestop touched on serious topics but also had lighter moments

Hello, Royal Watchers. This is a special edition of the newsletter following the three-day visit to Canada by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, last week. Read this online? register here to receive it in your inbox.

When Prince Charles stepped in to take part in a drum dance Thursday in Yellowknife, it came as a surprise to some of them.

“No one thought he would, but he had a dance once, and it shows he cares and wants to help,” said Fred Sangris, Chief of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation of Ndilǫ, at CBC News Network.

Sangris said he and other leaders spoke with Charles about reconciliation, residential schools, the Giant Mine clean-up project and the lack of housing.

“I think he understood. He was very attentive, listening to our concerns.”

The drum dance and time spent with the leaders took place as Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were on the final day of their three-day visit to Canada. The whirlwind tour was part of efforts to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee and 70 years as monarch and took the couple from St. John’s to Ottawa and, finally, to the Northwest Territories.

Prince Charles and Camilla attend a ceremony at the Heart Garden at Government House in St. John’s on Tuesday. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press)

There were plenty of serious moments as Charles and Camilla attended events and spoke with people about issues ranging from climate change to Indigenous concerns, which Charles acknowledged in a speech Thursday.

“Our visit allowed us to deepen our understanding of this important moment in Canada’s journey,” he said.

“It is deeply moving to have met residential school survivors who so courageously shared their experiences. On behalf of my wife and myself, I want to acknowledge their suffering and say how much our hearts go out to them and their families. All of the leaders have shared with me the importance of advancing reconciliation in Canada.

There were also lighter moments, like when Charles encountered a life-size woolen bust of his own face, which was part of efforts to promote wool and its durability. He and Camilla also had a few pints of beer at the Quidi Vidi brewery in St. John’s.

Prior to the visit, there had been discussions about the interest the visit would generate, given its relatively short duration, as well as the discussion such visits typically generate around the relevance and future of the monarchy.

In that case, wherever Charles and Camilla went, they were welcome.

On Wednesday, Prince Charles meets and greets local residents at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

“What stood out to me was that Charles and Camilla were warmly welcomed wherever they traveled,” Toronto-based author and royal historian Carolyn Harris said Friday.

Harris, who noted that the visit had a “very strong focus on listening to Canadians from all walks of life,” said she was also struck by “the timeliness of the itinerary,” highlighting the emphasis on Indigenous reconciliation, climate change and sustainable financing. , as well as time spent meeting Ukrainian Canadians.

While in Ottawa, Charles and Camilla visited the ByWard Market. As they met and spoke with local farmers and entrepreneurs, they “really seemed to be in their element,” Harris said.

It remains to be seen whether how this tour went and how Charles and Camilla were received will influence future royal visits.

“Certainly a longer tour would have allowed them to visit more parts of the country and engage with even more people,” Harris said, “so it will be interesting to see what subsequent royal tours look like and whether they stay very short and focused like this, or if we’ll see slightly longer tours in the future.”

Prince Charles and Camilla take part in a traditional prayer service at a Ukrainian church in Ottawa on Wednesday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

For his part, Charles seemed struck by what he and Camilla went through, and said they “appreciated the warmth and hospitality very much.”

“As we began our journey in St. John’s earlier this week — and marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by celebrating the spirit of people and service — our great hope was that we could hear and learn directly from Canadians he said during his speech on Thursday.

“That hope has been more than realized. We have cherished beyond words how so many have shared their experiences, insights and example with us.”

He said they would stay “in close contact”, including through the Canadian organizations he and Camilla are affiliated with.

“Above all, we will closely follow the next chapter in this country’s remarkable history, with the greatest affection and admiration for all that Canada and Canadians represent in the world.

Day by day

Camilla smiles as she meets students during her visit to Assumption Elementary School in Vanier, Ont., on Wednesday. (Carlos Osorio/The Canadian Press)

Here is a summary of CBC’s coverage of the royal visit over the past few days:

  • In St. John’s on Tuesday, the royal couple visited the Provincial Legislative Assembly, the Lieutenant Governor’s residence and the picturesque village of Quidi Vidi during a 4h30 visit which encompassed themes ranging from dark to festive.

  • Ottawa marked Wednesday the longest stop of the tourand saw Prince Charles and Camilla visit a city he recently called “the storied capital at the heart of a great nation”.

  • In the Northwest Territories on Thursday, two councilors from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation said Prince Charles and Camilla were very polite and interested in learning about Dene culture.

Prince Charles visits the Dettah Ice Road, which is now melting, on Thursday. The Ice Road, which connects Yellowknife and Dettah via Great Slave Lake in winter, usually opens in late December, but in recent years has been delayed until early January. (Jacob King/Getty Images)

Royal visits inevitably spark discussion and debate about the monarchy and its future. Here’s some CBC coverage about it over the past week:

WATCH | Why it would be so hard to abandon Canada’s constitutional monarchy:

Why abandoning Canada’s constitutional monarchy is nearly impossible

Andrew Chang explores the difficult process for Canada to sever its ties with the British monarchy and the implications this would have on Indigenous communities across the country.

A surprise appearance

Queen Elizabeth travels to Paddington station in central London on Tuesday to mark the completion of London’s Crossrail project, ahead of the opening of the new Elizabeth Line rail service next week. (Andrew Matthews/AFP/Getty Images)

Public appearances by Queen Elizabeth have been rare in recent months, it came as a surprise when the 96-year-old was on hand this week to officially open an underground line in central London named in her honour.

Health and mobility issues limited his official appearances outside of his residences. Last week, Prince Charles took her place reading the Queen’s Speech for the official opening of Britain’s Parliament.

But the Queen was seen last weekend at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, and there are reports she is hoping to attend the Chelsea Flower Show in London next week.

Attention will also turn in early June to how many events she can attend during the long weekend marking her platinum jubilee.

  • Do you intend to mark the platinum jubilee, in Canada or in the United Kingdom? Email The Royal Fascinator. We will follow up in the next newsletter.

Royally citable

“We need to listen to the truth about the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples and we need to work to better understand their pain and suffering. We all have a responsibility to listen, understand and act in ways that foster relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. in Canada.”

– Prince Charles, during a speech Thursday in Yellowknife, as he and Camilla wrapped up their visit.

Prince Charles shakes hands with local officials on Thursday before leaving Yellowknife for the UK after the three-day visit to Canada. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Royal readings

  1. The art and photography that has depicted Queen Elizabeth throughout her 70 years as monarch reveal interesting truthsauthor Holly Williams writes for the BBC.

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