HomePoliticsPrince Charles sails through high-stakes Canada trip | CNN

Prince Charles sails through high-stakes Canada trip | CNN

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A version of this story appeared in the May 20 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on Britain’s royal family. Sign up here.


London
CNN
 — 

Royal tours aren’t always a success. Since restarting their global travels in the wake of the pandemic, some members of the royal family have endured awkward encounters while interacting with leaders or protesters.

So there will be a sense of relief that Prince Charles’ visit to Canada was met with rave reviews.

Charles was greeted by crowds of flag-waving Canadians when he arrived in Ottawa and throughout his stay. He hobnobbed with politicians and deftly handled complicated questions about the royal family’s history, all while making the most of some photo opportunities.

It was important to get this trip right. Canada was one of the five founding members of the Commonwealth, and its relationship with the royal family has generally been a warm and reciprocal one. On Monday, the country will celebrate Victoria Day, which marks the 19th-century monarch’s birthday.

Her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth has made a staggering 22 trips to the country, more than to any other Commonwealth nation. In 2002, she visited during her Golden Jubilee celebrations and dropped a ceremonial puck before an ice hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks.

And Charles has frequently made the journey, too – he’s appeared alone, with Princess Diana and with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. In 1998, he memorably hit the slopes in Whistler with William and Harry.

Charles skis with his sons in Whistler, Canada in 1998.

But this latest visit was his first in five years – and it came at a time when his visibility is increasing as the Queen, who has suffered from mobility problems, slims down her diary.

Charles has been the heir to the throne from the moment he was born, but in recent months he’s been increasingly forced to take on duties that remind people he’s the future King.

And trips to nations where they are the head of state are an important part of any monarch’s reign.

With that in mind, Charles’ itinerary in Canada could provide clues to the sort of King he wants to be.

The environment has been a topic close to his heart for decades, and this was a big theme of his tour. He led a roundtable discussion on the climate emergency with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and spoke with locals in Yellowknife, northwest Canada about the impact of climate change on the community.

Trudeau praised Charles’ “commitment to Canada, to Canadians, and to building a cleaner future” on Twitter after welcoming the Prince of Wales.

There were somber moments, too. Charles honored Canada’s war dead during a wreath-laying ceremony, and he attended a service at a Ukrainian church in Ottawa, before speaking with members of the local Ukrainian community.

Charles meets the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, RoseAnne Archibald.

He also provided royal fans with plenty of light-hearted moments. He tested out a snowmobile, swayed with tribe members during a Dene drum dance and enthusiastically watched a parade by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Thursday.

At one point during his hectic itinerary, Charles extolled the virtues of a Canadian staple – maple syrup – proclaiming it “great stuff,” according to the PA Media news agency.

But the legacy of historical wrongs has increasingly lingered over royal trips in recent months, and perhaps the most important element of Charles’ trip was how adeptly he addressed those concerns.

Canada is in the grip of a national scandal over the deaths and abuse of indigenous children in residential schools, and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations said she pressed Charles for an apology from the Queen, given her role as head of the Anglican church, which ran some of the schools.

“I also asked for an apology for the failures of the Crown in that relationship that we have with them,” RoseAnne Archibald said, according to PA.

Charles did not offer an apology but “recognised there had been failures by those who are responsible for that relationship,” which “really meant something,” Archibald said.

Earlier in the trip, PA reported that Charles told dignitaries: “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.”

Charles has taken part in many royal tours over the decades, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he can tick off a visit to a Commonwealth nation as a success.

But as the royal family navigates its changing role in the world, and as the gradual process of transition begins to take shape, Charles can expect a greater focus on where he travels, how often – and how it goes.

Elizabeth opens rail line named after her.

The Queen made time formally to open London’s new Elizabeth Line, in her first public appearance outside of Windsor in several weeks. Beaming and dressed in sunshine yellow, Elizabeth inspected the new mass-transit rail line, named after her, alongside her son Edward and Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Paddington Station on Tuesday. The 96-year-old monarch, who is generally used to more luxurious forms of travel, was even shown how to use the top-up Oyster Card that allows millions to hop onto London’s subway network – deeming the device “splendid.”

Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque to mark the Elizabeth line's official opening.

Diana Ross to headline jubilee concert.

Motown legend Diana Ross has been announced as one of the headliners at the Platinum Jubilee concert taking place outside Buckingham Palace next month. Duran Duran, opera singer Andrea Bocelli and Rod Stewart will sing for the monarch, as will – appropriately enough – Queen, in their current guise with frontman Adam Lambert. Headliners will entertain thousands of spectators on an elaborate stage outside the palace, though it’s not yet clear whether the Queen will watch the performances live as she has previous jubilee concerts. George Ezra, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Britain’s Eurovision star Sam Ryder are also on the bill.

William booed at FA Cup final.

It’s been a busy week for Prince William in his role as President of England’s Football Association.

The football fan presented the FA Cup to winners Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, but before kick-off a cluster of supporters appeared to boo and jeer him as he entered the arena. Some fans also booed the national anthem, which was played before the match between Liverpool and Chelsea got underway.

“It’s always best to ask the question, ‘Why does it happen?’” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said at a press conference on Monday.

“I know our people that well that they wouldn’t do it if there was no reason for it. I’ve not been here long enough to understand the reason for it – it’s for sure something historical,” Klopp said.

A few days later, William reveled in some more upbeat news from the footballing world – leading tributes to Jake Daniels, the 17-year-old Blackpool forward who became the first professional men’s player in decades to come out as gay.

“Football should be a game for everyone,” William wrote on Twitter. “What Jake has done takes courage and will hopefully help break down barriers that have no place in our society.”

The Queen met hockey great Wayne Gretzky (second from right) in Vancouver on October 6, 2002, during a 12-day Golden Jubilee tour of Canada.

The Queen got close to the action when she visited a hockey game in Vancouver in October 2002. After being welcomed by Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky, the monarch strode onto the ice and dropped the ceremonial first puck at the showdown between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks.

Her tour of Canada in her Golden Jubilee year, which she undertook with her late husband Prince Philip, lasted nearly two weeks.

Dan Kitwood/Pool/AP

Maverick and Iceman in the flesh: Tom Cruise and his new wingman, Prince William, teamed up at the London premiere of the “Top Gun” sequel on Thursday. William, who flew for the Royal Air Force, even wore shoes embroidered with a fighter aircraft logo for the event, and the Hollywood superstar spoke of his unlikely friendship with the royal. “We have a lot in common,” Cruise told PA Media on the red carpet. “We both love England, and we’re both aviators, we both love flying.”

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