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Prince Charles, Camilla in Ottawa for royal tour


Prince Charles was invested as Commander Extraordinary of the Order of Military Merit and laid a wreath at the National War Memorial as he began the second day of his Platinum Jubilee tour of Canada.

The Prince and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrived in Canada on Tuesday, spending the day in Newfoundland and Labrador before flying to Ottawa in the evening.

Mid-morning on Wednesday, Prince Charles, dressed in a dark blue striped suit, and Camilla, dressed in a blue coat, arrived with Governor General Mary Simon in a grand drawing room at Rideau Hall. They were greeted by the Vice Chief of the Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Frances Allen, before taking her place in front of the room for the ceremony.

The Order of Military Merit celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Prince has accepted nine honorary appointments and three honorary ranks in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“He was there for our troops at those most important times,” said Ian McCowan, secretary to the governor general, who acted as master of ceremonies.

“During the Afghanistan campaign, visiting troops in the field writing to wounded soldiers, offering support to families of the dead, sharing our nation’s pride and gratitude for service.”

He and Simon shook hands and touched the medal that lay between them on a blue velvet stand.

The Order recognizes the outstanding merit and exceptional service of serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The couple then left Rideau Hall to go to the National War Memorial. A few dozen spectators gathered on the side of the road outside the grounds of Rideau Hall, waving to the motorcade as it passed.

A modest crowd awaited them at the memorial, but Cécile Dumont took no chances and turned up at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“I wanted to get the top 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.”

For the 2011 royal visit of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Dumont camped overnight on Parliament Hill with a host of other royal fans to get a good vantage point. She was surprised to be the only one at the war memorial at 7am on Wednesday to see Prince Charles.

Onlookers cheered and cheered as the couple’s car arrived at the memorial.

The couple stopped in front of the memorial as a bugler played the last bell. Then the prince and Camilla observed a minute of silence, before laying a wreath and a bouquet of flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

After the ceremony, Prince Charles and Camilla took several minutes to greet people in the crowd, one of whom presented Camilla with a bouquet of orange tulips. They shook hands and spoke to people closely watched by security before getting into the car to drive to the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral for a prayer service.

They will also meet a displaced Ukrainian woman and her two sons.

They will also visit Ottawa’s famous ByWard Market, visit a local school, speak with Afghan refugee women and meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The final event of Prince Charles and Camilla’s day is a Platinum Jubilee reception at Rideau Hall.

Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron said she intends to use this opportunity to demand an apology from the Queen for the legacy of residential schools.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 18, 2022