The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrived in St John’s, Canada today where they took part in an Official Welcome Ceremony at Confederation Building. Their Royal Highnesses watched the ceremony which included a number of artistic and cultural performances representing Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich tradition of song and story.
During a speech at the Official Welcome Ceremony, The Prince of Wales said:
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.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall joined Indigenous leaders from across Newfoundland and Labrador for a solemn ceremony in the Heart Garden. A moment of silence was observed by all in attendance to honour and remember the Indigenous children who attended residential schools in Labrador and Northern Newfoundland.
Their Royal Highnesses then proceeded to the Commonwealth Walkway, a commemorative Platinum Jubilee project, where Their Royal Highnesses greeted members of the public and local community organisations including Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award recipients.
To mark Her Majesty The Queen’s historic Platinum Jubilee celebration, Newfoundland and Labrador is completing a commemorative initiative—the development of a Commonwealth Walkway on the grounds of Government House. The walkway will be one kilometre in distance, winding through more than 50 commemorative trees that have been planted over the years to recognize visits by Royalty—including from other countries: Governors General, Lieutenant Governor’s, Premier’s, and other notable dignitaries.
During the first day of Their Royal Highnesses visit to Canada, The Prince and The Duchess also toured Quidi Vidi Village - a picturesque neighbourhood of St. John’s which has been a traditional fishing village and a continued representation of a Newfoundland and Labrador outport fishing community. Their Royal Highnesses also visited Quidi Vidi Village Artisan Studios where Their Royal Highnesses were invited to start the first stitches in a collaborative community art project called ‘Come Home Year 2022’.
After meeting a Newfoundland dog named “Chief” and walking along the Harbour, Their Royal Highnesses visited Quidi Vidi Brewery where they heard about the unique elements of the brewery’s signature Iceberg beer, made from 20,000-year-old water harvested from icebergs which migrate seasonally to Newfoundland and Labrador. The Prince and The Duchess also had an opportunity to pour and sample their own Iceberg beer.
Their Royal Highnesses began their second day in Canada by meeting the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon and His Excellency Whit Fraser at Rideau Hall for the Order of Military Merit Ceremony. During the ceremony, Her Excellency invested His Royal Highness as Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit and presented the insignia.
Their Royal Highnesses also joined Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, His Excellency Whit Fraser, and the Chief Warrant Officer of the National Defence Headquarters, CWO J.C.E. Drouin at The National War Memorial. The Prince laid a wreath and The Duchess placed a bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in remembrance of the sacrifices and service of current members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, and their families.
The Prince and The Duchess also travelled to the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral to meet members of the Ukrainian Community. Representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation spoke to Their Royal Highnesses about their partnership efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine. Canada is home to 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent – the world's third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia.
During the day, Their Royal Highnesses also visited local market producers and merchants at ByWard Market to hear about their experiences during the pandemic before visiting Assumption School, a junior kindergarten to grade six school of the Ottawa Catholic School Board with a community that includes many immigrant and refugee families, and a large Indigenous student population.
At an event with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall inspected and engaged with ride members and their horses. The Prince and The Duchess will also met trades of the Musical Ride, including a mare and foal with their handlers from the R.C.M.P.’s breeding farm, equestrian trainers, and farriers. Their Royal Highnesses also visited The Musical Ride Centre, which was opened in 2002 by Her Majesty The Queen.
During a Prince’s Trust visit at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, The Prince of Wales spoke to young women who have settled in Canada after fleeing the recent conflict in Afghanistan, as well as representatives of the 30 Birds Foundation program that aided their resettlement.
Back at Rideau Hall, The Prince of Wales spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before attending a Sustainable Finance Engagement event with CEOs of Canadian Companies at the John G. Diefenbaker Building.
Lastly, Their Royal Highnesses, along with Governor General Mary Simon and His Excellency Whit Grant Fraser, attended an evening reception hosted by the Governor General to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee at Rideau Hall.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were welcomed to Yellowknife by the two Chiefs for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Chief Edward Sangris (Dettah) and Chief Fred Sangris (Ndilo), The Premier of the Northwest Territories, The Honourable Caroline Cochrane and representatives from the Northwest Territories Council of Leaders.
Their Royal Highnesses were invited to participate in a Feeding the Fire Ceremony, facilitated by Elder Bernadette Martin. This ceremony began with an opening prayer followed by a prayer to the spirits and saw Their Royal Highnesses put offerings of tobacco into the fire.
The Prince then went inside Chief Drygeese Government Building to the Council Chambers with Elder Bernadette Martin, Chief Edward Sangris and Chief Fred Sangris for a Round table with Yellowknives Dene First Nation Leadership. Meanwhile, The Duchess visited Dettah’s Kaw Tay Whee Community School which offers high quality, culturally responsive programming from full-day kindergarten to grade 8.
The Prince of Wales also travelled to the Fred Henne Territorial Park to visit the Canadian Rangers at and mark the organisation’s 75th anniversary. His Royal Highness had the opportunity to meet with Canadian Rangers and discuss the impact of climate change on the work that they do. The Prince of Wales then participated in a discussion with local experts on the impact of climate change in Northern Canada and the importance of Indigenous-led initiatives during his visit to Ice Road.
The Duchess of Cornwall visited a YWCA transitional housing centre to hear beneficiaries’ stories of going through the program, staff members’ long-term experiences, the impact reconciliation has on how programs are developed, as well as discussions about women-led initiatives and the services required for many women in the North. YWCA transitional housing centre, otherwise known as Hoti Etsanda Ko in the Welledeh dialect of the Tlicho language which means ‘healthy living place’, is a transitional safe housing centre for women fleeing domestic violence and need a stable and safe environment to call home.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall joined again to visit Prince of Wales Heritage Centre which His Royal Highness opened in 1979. The Centre acquires and manages objects and archival materials that represent the cultures and history of the Northwest Territories (NWT), plays a primary role in documenting and providing information about the cultures and history of the NWT, and provides professional museum, archives and cultural resource management services to partner organizations.
Following the events inside the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Their Royal Highnesses attended a Platinum Jubilee Ceremony at Ceremonial Circle. The Ceremonial Circle was officially opened on March 31st 1999 and was the site of the Northwest Territories’ celebrations to mark the creation of two new territories, Nunavut and a new NWT, in Canada’s North. Located behind City Hall on the walkway leading to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, the Ceremonial Circle is an area that celebrates the Northwest Territories, its people and many cultures and is a gathering place for people and can be used by any group wanting to celebrate special events.
At Ceremonial Circle, The Prince of Wales said:
When we began our journey in St. John’s earlier this week – and in marking The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by celebrating the spirit of people and service - our great hope was that we might listen to, and learn from Canadians directly. This hope has been more than fulfilled. We have treasured beyond words the way that so many people have shared with us their experiences, their ideas and their example. Time and again, we have heard about such marvellous instances of neighbours helping neighbours in need – whether in Canada or around the world.