AFP, published on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 20:33
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla began their visit to Canada on Tuesday with a three-day trip to the country, where they were urged by the governor-general, Queen Elizabeth II’s official representative to the country, to “speak with the indigenous peoples”.
The royal couple made their first stop in Saint John of Newfoundland (east), where they were greeted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor-General Mary Simon, herself an Aborigine.
“I encourage you to speak with indigenous peoples to hear their stories, their successes and their solutions, and I encourage you to learn the truth about our history, both the good and the bad,” urged Ms. Simon.
The visit comes nearly a year after Canada discovered the first unmarked children’s graves on the site of former Native American boarding schools, sparking outrage and revealing the country’s colonial history.
Upon arrival, Prince Charles and Camilla walked into the crowd and shook hands with Canadians who had gathered near the entrance to the Confederation Building.
“I know that our visit here this week comes at an important time for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples across Canada to reflect openly and honestly on the past in order to forge new relationships for the future,” Prince Charles said.
The welcoming ceremony was marked by a prayer in Inuktitut, the traditional language of the Inuit, as well as a musical performance by an Inuk soprano and a traditional Micmac song.
– dorm scandal –
The royal couple must then head to the capital Ottawa, then Thursday to the Northwest Territories (NWT), that region of northern Canada near the Arctic that is warming three times faster than the planet.
“(Prince Charles) wants to talk about the environment and the natives want to talk about religious boarding schools,” historian and British monarchy expert James Jackson told AFP.
“The three provinces hardest hit by the religious boarding school scandal were British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta, which he is avoiding this time. By going to the NWT he can speak in a relaxed environment without talking too much about the boarding scandal,” he continued.
This royal visit comes at a delicate period of transition for the British monarchy, which has been harassed during two recent royal trips to the Caribbean when first Prince William and then Prince Edward were asked to apologize for the UK’s slavery past.
Queen Elizabeth, 96, has also canceled almost all of her public appearances in the past seven months for health reasons, although the 70-year reigning monarch surprisingly paid his visit to the inauguration of a London subway on Tuesday.
Despite the deep affection that two-thirds of Canadians have for the Queen they have known all their lives, 51% want the end of the constitutional monarchy for the next generations, according to a recent survey by Canada’s Angus Reid Institute.
At a time when Canada is re-examining its colonial past, 65% reject the idea of Charles, 73, becoming king and head of state of Canada and 76% refuse to recognize Camilla, 74, as their queen.