Prince Charles, Camilla visit Ukrainian church in Ottawa on second day of royal tour
Published Wednesday, May 18, 2022 9:24AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, May 18, 2022 3:49PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, lit candles and listened to a prayer service on Wednesday inside a gilded Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral in Ottawa, while congregants and onlookers waved blue-and-yellow flags and Union Jacks outside.
The royals visited the church as a gesture of their support for the war-ravaged country on the second day of their Platinum Jubilee tour of Canada. A priest told the couple the community sincerely appreciates the support of the Royal Family.
"Your country is truly a friend of Ukraine, having extended a helping hand, not only militarily but also as fellow citizens of our planet. We will never, never forget that," said Father Ihor Kutash.
The prince and Camilla arrived in Canada on Tuesday, spending the day in Newfoundland and Labrador before flying to the national capital in the evening. Their busy day in Ottawa on Wednesday included a wreath-laying at the National War Memorial and a tour of the famed ByWard Market.
Outside the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, the crowd chanted "Slava Ukraini," which means glory to Ukraine. Among those gathered was Iryna Bloshenko, who arrived in Canada from Dnipro in the besieged country just four weeks ago.
"I am very happy, very excited to see the royals," she said, waving a Ukrainian flag. "We appreciate the royals' support for Ukraine."
Ruslan Rovishen, a Ukrainian who lives in Ottawa, also said he appreciates the royals coming and added he's "praying with them for peace in Ukraine."
"It has been my dream since childhood to see the British Royal Family. I am excited they are here."
After attending the prayer service, the royal couple met with a Ukrainian family who fled the Russian invasion.
Crowds have grown throughout the day, and by early afternoon the couple was swarmed by a large group of well-wishers and royal watchers at Ottawa's ByWard Market.
Kiki Malia said he had goosebumps in anticipation of meeting Prince Charles. He and his companions were planning to have lunch in the market when they heard the prince and the duchess were on their way.
They picked up some flowers from the local flower stand to offer to the couple.
"It's a thrill," Malia said.
Prince Charles and Camilla made their way through the market to the Beaver Tails stand, where Mayor Jim Watson and the local city councillor Mathieu Fleury said they recommended the "Killaloe Sunrise" flavour.
After visiting some vendors in the ByWard Market, Charles and Camilla are making their way through the crowd to say hello to those who came out on relatively short notice once it was announced they’d be coming to this iconic tourist area in the city. Cellphones aplenty. #ottcity pic.twitter.com/DGxtUBJ9Ap— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) May 18, 2022
Robert Charles Hupe, who owns the maple syrup shack in the market, said he found out last week he'd be getting a chance to introduce his wares to the royals. He planned to highlight his maple butter, although royal etiquette dictates he can't offer to send them home with some unless they ask.
His mother named him after the prince, he said, and he's been looking forward to meeting his namesake.
"They're a living fairy tale really," Hupe said.
At Assumption Elementary School, Camilla sat down to read to a grade one and two class before visiting older students in a French immersion class.
Many of the students' families are new Canadians, and Prince Charles spoke with several parents who've recently immigrated.
"He's so nice, I'm telling you," said Fatimah Akintoye, a single mother who moved to Ottawa from Nigeria to start a better life with her five children. "And he's so patient with us, asking questions about us."
The couple then travelled to the National War Memorial, where they observed a minute of silence before laying a wreath and a bouquet of flowers in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
After placing the wreath and bouquet the royal couple are escorted to the guest book table for signing. This is the last portion of this event, will soon be off to the motorcade to head to the service at the Ukrainian cathedral. #cdnpoli #ottnews pic.twitter.com/IzTXArzM6A— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) May 18, 2022
The crowd outside the memorial was modest, but Cecile Dumont wasn't taking any chances and got there at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.
"I wanted to get the best spot. I'm a real royalist, their No. 1 fan," she said. "It's history in the making, the future king is here in Ottawa."
Following the ceremony, Prince Charles and Camilla greeted people in the crowd, one of whom handed Camilla a bouquet of orange tulips. The royals, heavily guarded by security, shook hands and spoke to people before getting in a car.
Later Wednesday, they are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Prince Charles and Camilla's final event of the day is a Platinum Jubilee reception at Rideau Hall.
The Royals will soon be heading to the RCMP stables to watch a special performance of the Musical Ride. About 1,000 people, mostly first responders, CAF/RCMP Members & their families, have gathered. Right now they’re watching a performance by the RCMP Pipe, Drums and Dancers. pic.twitter.com/rrB4jBUpHd— Annie Bergeron-Oliver (@AnnieClaireBO) May 18, 2022
Metis National Council President Cassidy Caron has said she intends to use that occasion to make a request for an apology from the Queen for the legacy of residential schools.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2022.