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Prince Charles and Camilla arrive in Canada for Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall received a warm, flag-waving welcome as they touched down in Canada today.

Minutes after landing in Newfoundland on the first leg of their three-day visit to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the couple were taken by convoy to Confederation Building in, the home of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, in St John’s.

They were greeted by Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, senior leaders from the indigenous communities of the region and Canada’s Governor General.

As they stepped out of their car the the crowds cheered loudly and waved Canadian flags.

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The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrive in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their three-day trip to Canada to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were greeted warmly by well-wishers as they arrived in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador on their first day of their Royal Tour of Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were greeted warmly by well-wishers as they arrived in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador on their first day of their Royal Tour of Canada 

Representatives of the local Beothuk Nation holding placards which read ‘We Live On’ stood behind the line-up but also greeted the royal visitors enthusiastically.

Charles clasped the hands of several of the indigenous leaders representing the Innu Nation, the NunatuKavut Community Council, Saqamaw and Chief of the Miawpokek First Nation and Chief of the Qalipu First Nation.

Mr Trudeau greeted the heir to the throne like an old friend, also clasping the prince’s hands.

Charles then took the Royal Salute as the national anthem played before inspecting the Guard of Honour.

Despite the tensions, flag-waving schoolchildren and well-wishers still turned out to greet the royal couple as they began their whirlwind schedule of engagements with a welcoming ceremony in the city of St John's

Despite the tensions, flag-waving schoolchildren and well-wishers still turned out to greet the royal couple as they began their whirlwind schedule of engagements with a welcoming ceremony in the city of St John’s

The couple were welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured, as they arrived in the country for the three-day visit

The couple were welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured, as they arrived in the country for the three-day visit

As they walked up the steps to the building Charles and Camilla split to greet well-wishers on either side, many of whom were children.

Inside the prince and duchess enjoyed cultural performances by local musicians and singers, as well as speeches by dignitaries including Mr Trudeau.

Before they departed couple signed a ‘Golden Book’ and the Provincial Guest Book before leaving, with the stunning landscape in front of them including The Narrows – the only passage from the Atlantic Ocean to St. John’s Harbour – andCabot Tower, built in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

As they walked to their car they were mobbed by well-wishers, Charles ‘high-giving’ a group of local schoolgirls who had waited to two hours to see him. 

In his first speech of the trip, Charles referred directly to the process of reconciliation in Canada, talking about ‘our collective need’ to come to terms with the ‘darker and more difficult aspects of the past’.

He said: ‘However, as we look to 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: acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better. It is a process that starts with listening.’

He continued: ‘I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss with the Governor General the vital process of reconciliation in this country – not a one-off act, of course, but an ongoing commitment to healing, respect and understanding.

‘I know that our visit here this week comes at an important moment – with indigenous and non-indigenous peoples across Canada committing to reflect honestly and openly on the past and to forge a new relationship for the future…’

The Prince of Wales is greeted as he and Camilla arrive in Canada ahead of Royal Tour to mark Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales is greeted as he and Camilla arrive in Canada ahead of Royal Tour to mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales as he leaves the plane after touching down in Canada for their three-day trip to Canada to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales as he leaves the plane after touching down in Canada for their three-day trip to Canada to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are saluted as they leave the plane in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are saluted as they leave the plane in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

He added that he and his wife ‘look forward to listening to you and learning about the future you are working to build. ‘

‘As so often in the history of this country and her people, Canadians have embarked on a journey that demands commitment and courage. My wife and I could hardly be more privileged to travel part of this journey with you and we are deeply grateful for your warm welcome, which we will carry with us throughout this entire tour,’ he said.

Charles had been urged to apologise on behalf of the royal family for the treatment of indigenous communities in Canada as he and the Duchess of Cornwall touched down in the country for a royal tour.

Cassidy Caron, National Council President of the Metis people, said she intended to raise the issue personally with the heir to the throne when they meet tomorrow. 

Mary Teegee, executive director of child and family services at Carrier Sekani Family Services in the province of British Columbia, said: ‘They also have to understand that they are not the leaders in our nation,’ adding that recognition of the harms of colonisation are needed rather than just a ‘trite’ apology.

The pressure comes following two recent royal visits to the Caribbean – by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Earl and Countess of Wessex – attracted criticism for promoting ‘colonialism’ and calls for reparations over Britain’s role in the historic slave trade.

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are warmly greeted as they arrive in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their three-day trip to Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are warmly greeted as they arrive in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their three-day trip to Canada

The Duchess of Cornwall is saluted as she arrives with the Prince of Wales for their three-day trip to Canada

The Duchess of Cornwall is saluted as she arrives with the Prince of Wales for their three-day trip to Canada

The UK enjoys a warm relationship with Canada, where the Queen is head of state, and whose Platinum Jubilee Charles and Camilla’s three-day visit is designed to celebrate.

But the country has been coming to terms with the grim discovery last year of hundreds of human remains in unmarked graves at former church-run schools, institutions to which indigenous children were forcibly relocated for generations.

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded Christian boarding schools in an effort to assimilate them into Canadian society.

Thousands of children died of disease and other causes, with many never returned to their families.

The couple appeared in good spirits as they chatted with well-wishers in St. John's to begin a three-day Canadian tour

The couple appeared in good spirits as they chatted with well-wishers in St. John’s to begin a three-day Canadian tour

Prince Charles and Camilla leave their plane upon touching down in St. John's to begin a three-day Canadian tour

Prince Charles and Camilla leave their plane upon touching down in St. John’s to begin a three-day Canadian tour

The Canadian government has acknowledged that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the schools, with students beaten for speaking their native languages.

Notably Charles, 73, and Camilla, 74, will begin their tour by acknowledging the treatment of the schools’ victims.

They will take part in a ‘solemn moment of reflection and prayer’ in the Heart Garden in St John’s, Newfoundland, dedicated to the thousands who died or were abused in the school system.

Chris Fitzgerald, deputy private secretary to the prince for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs, said of their decision to begin the trip with an acknowledgement of the issue: ‘Heart Gardens are in memory of all indigenous children who were lost to the residential school system, in recognition of those who survived, and the families of both.’

He added: ‘Throughout the tour, Their Royal Highnesses will take the opportunity to continue to engage with indigenous communities.

Prince Charles and Camilla as they arrive ahead of their three-day tour of Canada to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee

Prince Charles and Camilla as they arrive ahead of their three-day tour of Canada to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee 

Prince Charles and Camilla descending the stairs of their plane upon arrival in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Prince Charles and Camilla descending the stairs of their plane upon arrival in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

‘Over five decades, HRH continues to learn from Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.

‘He recognises their deep ties to the land and water and the critical traditional knowledge they hold to restore harmony between people and Nature.’

But Ms Caron, who represents the Metis, a distinct indigenous people, originally the offspring of Indian women and European fur traders, believes the royal family need to go further.

She told CBC News: ‘There’s so much healing that is needed. We need basic human necessities in our communities and it stems from colonisation.

‘It stems from assimilation and some financial reparations are absolutely helpful in helping us move forward.’

She said she will raise the issue of the Queen apologising for the abuse of indigenous people in Canada’s residential schools suffered and paying reparations when she meets with the prince and duchess at a reception in Ottawa.

Prince Charles stood to attention during an official welcome to Canada, hosted in the city of St John's

Prince Charles stood to attention during an official welcome to Canada, hosted in the city of St John’s

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall shared a quiet word as they joined Governor General of Canada Mary Simon at the event

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall shared a quiet word as they joined Governor General of Canada Mary Simon at the event

Schoolchildren waving the Canadian flags turned out to greet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on their arrival

Schoolchildren waving the Canadian flags turned out to greet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on their arrival 

Charles and Camilla flew in the Canadian Government’s official Royal Canadian Air Force plane which has been renamed ‘Royals 01’ especially for the voyage. It is normally called CanForce1 when the country’s Prime Minster is on board.

Immediately after their arrival they travelled to St John’s by convoy for an official welcome ceremony at the Confederation Building attended by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and other dignitaries as well as senior representatives of the main Indigenous communities.

The Prince took a Royal Salute and inspected a guard of honour, before he and his wife watched cultural performances representing Newfoundland and Labrador’s history and traditions.

Charles is expected to speak about the Queen’s ‘profound affection she feels for Canada and its people’ in his first major speech of the tour.

The visit will also see the couple travel to Ottawa and Yellowknife, the capital city of the Northwest Territories.

The Prince Of Wales’s speech at Confederation Building, St John’s, Canada in full

Governor-General, Prime Minister, honoured guests and friends.

It is with the greatest respect that both my wife and I begin our visit to these homelands that have been lived in and cared for by indigenous peoples – First Nations, Métis and Inuit – for thousands of years. We cannot thank you enough for your warm reception and those most generous words of welcome. Nor can I emphasize just how touched and delighted we were to be invited by the Government of Canada to join you as you celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and her seventy years of service as Sovereign.

La Reine m’a demandé de vous transmettre ses meilleurs vœux en cette année spéciale et d’exprimer la profonde affection qu’elle éprouve pour le Canada et ses habitants. Tout au long de sa vie, et depuis sa toute première visite ici en dix-neuf cent cinquante et un, Sa Majesté s’est profondément attachée au Canada et elle s’estime extrêmement heureuse d’avoir rencontré tant de Canadiens et Canadiennes de tous les coins du pays. Je sais que la Reine garde un souvenir particulièrement touchant de la visite qu’elle a effectuée avec feu mon père, le duc d’Édimbourg, en dix-neuf cent cinquante neuf, au cours d’une tournée remarquable de quarante-huit jours – la plus longue jamais effectuée! – sa Majesté avait alors visité toutes les provinces et tous les territoires. On that occasion, The Queen opened the St. Lawrence Seaway to commercial traffic in the presence of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. On a subsequent visit in 1982, she has recalled signing the proclamation of the Constitution Act alongside Prime Minister, your father, Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau. At these defining moments, and many others like them, The Queen was with you as Canada’s history was written.

Pour ma part, le Canada et les Canadiens occupent une place très spéciale dans ma vie depuis ma première visite ici il y a plus d’un demi-siècle. J’ai eu l’occasion de visiter toutes les provinces et tous les territoires, et je garde un souvenir impérissable des endroits remarquables que j’ai appris à connaître – des superbes forêts de la Colombie-Britannique au littoral majestueux des Maritimes en passant par la magnificence de l’Arctique. Above all, time and again, I have seen what makes this country truly great – her people and what they stand for – outward-looking, big-hearted and embodying Canada’s inherently global values. As I get older, it is particularly heart-warming to see my children coming to know and to love this great country – just as The Queen and my late father have, and my wife and I in turn.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems to me to be particularly apt that the unifying theme for the Platinum Jubilee is the celebration of people and “service” – service to family, to community and to country. If I may say so, this goes to the heart of what makes Canada so special, and what my family and I have long admired so greatly about this country. It is seen in acts of kindness every day in communities, big and small – from coast to coast to coast – on the part of health care workers and first responders, teachers, community leaders, military personnel and veterans. It is demonstrated by the many Canadians who have opened their homes to those seeking refuge from conflicts around the world. It is made manifest by Canada’s determination to be a force for good in our world.

En célébrant le Jubilé, nous célébrons donc les Canadiens et les Canadiennes – votre diversité, votre générosité et votre apport inestimable dans le monde entier. Encore aujourd’hui, vous défendez la liberté et vous vous opposez à la tyrannie, tout comme vous l’avez fait pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale alors que le Canada a joué un rôle indispensable dans la libération de l’Europe. Vous restez à l’avant-garde de la lutte contre les plus grands problèmes de notre époque, qu’il s’agisse de l’invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie, de la famine au Soudan du Sud ou de la destruction de la forêt amazonienne et de la crise croissante causée par les changements climatiques. Canada has always taken its responsibilities as a global citizen to heart in the most remarkable way. Time and again you have shown your country to be:-

A safe haven to those in need;

A respected leader on the world stage;

A much-needed voice in advocating for a greener and more sustainable future;

And, in an era where the global institutions of democracy look distressingly fragile, a model of determination and humanity.

Aujourd’hui, plus que jamais, nous avons besoin de l’esprit d’initiative, de la compassion et de l’humanité des Canadiens et des Canadiennes.

However, as we look to 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: acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better. It is a process that starts with listening.

I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss with the Governor General the vital process of reconciliation in this country – not a one-off act, of course, but an ongoing commitment to healing, respect and understanding. I know that our visit here this week comes at an important moment – with indigenous and non-indigenous peoples across Canada committing to reflect honestly and openly on the past and to forge a new relationship for the future…

As we begin this Platinum Jubilee visit, which will take us from the newest member of Confederation to among the oldest communities in the North – and to a much-storied capital at the heart of a great nation – my wife and I look forward to listening to you and learning about the future you are working to build. As so often in the history of this country and her people, Canadians have embarked on a journey that demands commitment and courage. My wife and I could hardly be more privileged to travel part of this journey with you and we are deeply grateful for your warm welcome, which we will carry with us throughout this entire tour. Merci, Thank you, Welaliek.

 


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