Home Play by Mail Prince Charles and Camilla meet Ottawa’s Ukrainian community as royal tour continues for day two

Prince Charles and Camilla meet Ottawa’s Ukrainian community as royal tour continues for day two


Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall receive bread and salt during a visit to a Ukrainian church in Ottawa during their royal tour of Canada, May 18, 2022.PAUL CHIASSON/AFP/Getty Images

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, began the second day of a visit to Canada on Wednesday, with stops across the nation’s capital meant to acknowledge pressing issues, including the displacement of Ukrainians due to the invasion. of the country by Russia.

The royal tour is one of the ways Canada is celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee this year, which marks her 70th anniversary on the throne. Queen Elizabeth is Canada’s oldest sovereign and the first to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. She ascended the throne in 1952.

Prince Charles and Camilla began their three-day Canadian visit to Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday. They will spend Wednesday in the National Capital Region before heading to the Northwest Territories on Thursday.

To start the day in Ottawa, the Prince of Wales was invested on Wednesday as Commander Extraordinary of the Order of Military Merit by Governor General Mary Simon, the Queen’s Federal Representative in Canada. The ceremony, held at Rideau Hall, also marked the 50th anniversary of the Order of Military Merit, created in 1972 to recognize the distinctive merit and exceptional service of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“He was there for our troops at those most important times,” said Ian McCowan, secretary to the governor general, who acted as master of ceremonies. “During the Afghanistan campaign, visiting troops in the field, writing to wounded soldiers, offering support to the families of the dead, sharing our nation’s pride and gratitude for service.”

Prince Charles and Camilla also took part in a ceremony at the National War Memorial honoring Canadian veterans and active military personnel. The royal couple stood for a moment of silence as the Last Post and Rouse and Lament were played by a single horn. Prince Charles then laid a wreath while Camilla laid a bouquet of flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

A large crowd gathered along Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa around the memorial.

Karen and Larry McKenzie were in Ottawa on vacation from Camrose, Alberta when they learned that the royal visit was taking place at the same time. Ms McKenzie, whose grandfather is English, said they were looking forward to seeing Prince Charles and Camilla interact with the crowds.

Bethany Bisaillion, who is a huge Monarchy fan and is organizing local Jubilee events this weekend, came to watch the event with two friends from her Scottish pipe band.

“It doesn’t happen every day, so it’s wonderful that they’re in the capital,” she said.

Before leaving the event at the memorial, the couple mingled with the crowd who cheered loudly. As they made their way through the crowd, the royals were greeted with a Ukrainian flag and an ‘Abolish the Monarchy’ sign held by protester Alexandria Phillips. Camilla was presented with a bouquet of tulips by a member of the crowd.

The couple were greeted by a small crowd and a round of applause outside the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in Ottawa’s west end. Among the crowd of about 60 spectators were people waving Ukrainian flags, the maple leaf and the Union Jack. Others, however, carried signs opposing the monarchy.

Prince Charles and Camilla were greeted by the new Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada, Yulia Kovaliv, then took part in a prayer with members of the Ukrainian community and met some of the groups helping Ukrainian refugees and raising funds for the victims of the war.

Olenka Reshitnyk-Bastian, who is part of the Ottawa branch of the Congress of Ukrainian Canadians, praised the royal couple’s focus on Ukraine and said it helps keep the focus on the war in Russia in the country.

“Their interactions with people are always so formal, and here I hope they feel like they’ve been welcomed into a family,” Ms Reshitnyk-Bastian said.

Later Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet the Prince of Wales for a bilateral meeting at Rideau Hall. Prince Charles is also due to speak about the importance of sustainable finance in tackling climate change and building a net zero economy.

The royal couple’s final event in Ottawa will be at Rideau Hall, where a Platinum Jubilee reception will be held. Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron said she plans to seek an apology from the Queen for the legacy of residential schools.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which spent six years studying the impact of residential schools in Canada that saw Indigenous children forcibly removed from their families and cultures, issued 94 calls to action in 2015, including including a call for a papal apology. He made no reference to the need for an apology from the royal family.

Pope Francis, meanwhile, is due to visit Canada, with stops scheduled in Quebec City, Edmonton and Iqaluit from July 24 to July 30.

When asked on Parliament Hill on Wednesday whether the royal family should apologize to Indigenous peoples, Trudeau said the trip was an opportunity to hear directly from Canadians and that climate change and reconciliation were “key elements of their visit”.

The Prime Minister also said that Prince Charles will hear directly from Indigenous peoples and that the government recognizes that reconciliation concerns everyone, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and that institutions also have a role to play.

John Fraser, founding president of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada, said on Wednesday the royal couple’s three-day visit was “embarrassingly brief”, adding that Prince Charles was going to be the future king .

One of the reasons the government does not like extended travel by members of the royal family is that there is a tradition of Aboriginal leaders petitioning the Crown, dating back to well before Confederation, Ms. Fraser. He said Prince Charles and Camilla were focusing on Indigenous issues during their visit, but were “tightly controlled”.

With files from The Canadian Press

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