RCMP prepared for security challenges of royal visit
Published Tuesday, June 28, 2011 10:03PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 5:12AM EDT
The Mounties are confident they are ready to provide security for the royal newlyweds who will bring the glare of the worldwide media spotlight with them with they arrive in Canada on Thursday afternoon.
From the moment William and Kate touch down on the tarmac in Ottawa, the RCMP will be on the clock.
And they will be keeping tabs on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for every minute of their eight-day trip to Canada.
While the Queen has made 22 trips to Canada, this visit marks a changing of the guard.
Hundreds of journalists will also be watching their every move, as will the massive crowds that are expected to greet the royals during their stops in Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Alberta.
The royal couple's first trip abroad is a major story back home in Britain and veteran royal correspondent Tim Ewart predicts they will not disappoint their admirers in Canada.
"I think you are going to see some serious frenzy there not only from those of us in the media on both sides of the Atlantic, but also from members of the public in Canada," Ewart told CTV News Channel, just three days before the couple's arrival.
"These two are a star turn, I mean, make no mistake about that."
The RCMP is well aware of the intense interest in the royal newlyweds, which Sgt. Pat Flood said has been a factor in the security planning surrounding their trip.
"There will be a bit of a balancing act going on there to try to ensure their safety while giving the public the opportunity to get as up close and personal as they can get," Flood explained to CTV.ca in a recent telephone interview from Ottawa.
But Flood said the planning has involved veteran officers who have worked on prior royal visits and the RCMP is confident that they are well prepared for William and Kate's much-anticipated visit.
"We're pretty satisfied with the way it's going and sure that everything should go off without a hitch."
The royal couple will mostly be on the move throughout their trip in Canada.
After just two nights in Ottawa, William and Kate will be whisked along to Montreal, Quebec City and east to Charlottetown in a span of two days. Twenty-four hours later they will be in the Northwest Territories before finishing the tail end of their Canadian tour in Calgary.
Royal watchers say that William is said to be unpredictable, meaning security staff could have their hands full.
Miguel Head, the private secretary for the Duke and Duchess, told CTV.ca in an email that the ambitious itinerary was put together by both the Canadian government and the couple themselves.
"The Canadian Govt (sic) took direction from the couple themselves as to the kind of itinerary they wanted, which was to meet as many Canadians as possible, and to see as much of the country as possible," Head said in his email.
As the Duke and Duchess make their way from city to city, Flood said the RCMP will stickhandle the major transportation and security aspects of their visit.
"We're responsible for the motorcades and the bodyguards, the operational support and also the joint co-ordination of intelligence and investigations," said Flood.
Flood said that RCMP bodyguards will accompany the couple throughout their Canadian trip, as will an unspecified number of British police officers.
But because the British police don't have jurisdiction while they are in Canada, it is the RCMP who are solely responsible for the couple's safety and security.
Former Royal Family aide Alex Bomberg said that the royal couple would typically travel with six or eight British bodyguards, not all of whom are visible to the public.
"You may see six, you may see eight, close to the royal couple. But around them there will be lots of other people as well you won't see," Bomberg told CTV News Channel in an interview from London on Tuesday.
Seven staff members will also accompany the royal couple for every stop on their Canadian journey, including their press secretary.
Head told CTV.ca that the royal entourage will also include the couple's private secretary, their assistant private secretary, an adviser, a second press officer, an administrative assistant and a hairdresser for the Duchess.