Charles, Camilla wrap up Canadian tour in Regina
Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012 10:39PM EDT
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, spent the final day of their whirlwind Canadian tour in Regina, honouring those who have "selflessly served" their communities.
The royals presented six Canadians with Diamond Jubilee medals, which recognize outstanding service to the community and the country, at a ceremony in the Saskatchewan legislature Wednesday.
The royal couple rounded off their Canadian visit with a concert by the Regina Symphony Orchestra and a reception at the RCMP training academy, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Prince Charles has been named the RCMP's honorary commissioner.
Harper also announced that the government will be making donations to two of Prince Charles' charities, the Prince's Operation Entrepreneur and the RCMP Foundation, in his name.
The prince's entrepreneurship program supports Canadian military personnel who want to start a small business after their service is over.
The couple also toured the First Nations University in Regina earlier Wednesday, where they watched a drumming and dancing performance.
As their four-day tour of Canada to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee neared its end, Prince Charles said he was touched by the stories he heard along the way.
"Over the past three days, I can say from the heart that we have both been incredibly moved by the stories of the literally hundreds and hundreds of Canadians we have met who have selflessly served their communities without thought of recognition or thanks -- whether it is running a breakfast club at their local school or teaching young people practical skills for future employment," Charles said after presenting the medals.
"We have been inspired by the sheer energy and enthusiasm of everyone we have met -- and by the quite remarkable things they have achieved."
Although the royal couple arrived at the Saskatchewan legislature on a rainy, windy day, hundreds of well-wishers gathered to cheer them on and snap pictures.
Premier Brad Wall joked the rain was brought in especially to make the royals feel at home.
Wall also welcomed Camilla on her first official visit to Saskatchewan, joking that the province's unofficial slogan is "the province that's hard to spell but easy to draw" and that the province's unofficial creature is the mosquito.
Wall then announced a scholarship would be renamed and expanded in honour of the couple.
Prince Charles and Camilla touched down in Regina late Tuesday evening after a visit to Toronto that included tributes to the Canadian Forces and a visit to a homeless shelter.
Politicians have awaited the couple at each tour stop, allowing the royals to meet with individuals such as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, New Brunswick Premier David Alward and on a municipal level, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
And at every tour stop, ordinary citizens too have also clamoured for their chance to meet or at least see the royals.
Royal expert Carolyn Harris says Canadians have shown a notable, warmer attitude towards Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla since they last visited in 2009.
"There's really been a revival of interest in the Canadian monarchy in the past few years," Harris, a doctoral candidate in history at Queen's University, told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday.
She attributes much of this to highly publicized events such as the Queen's visit to celebrate Canada Day in 2010, as well as Prince William and Duchess Catherine's visit to Canada in 2011.
While in Toronto, Prince Charles and Camilla took in a Victoria Day fireworks display at Ashbridge's Bay, visited the site of the athletes village for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games and stopped over at the Fort York Armoury.
The Duke and Duchess arrived in Canada late Sunday evening, with a quiet arrival at the Fredericton International Airport. The formal tour began the next day with a visit to CFB Gagetown and a walkabout on the streets of Saint John.
With files from The Canadian Press