Ottawa royalists ready to embrace Prince Charles as king

Although opinion polls show support for the monarchy falling in Canada, local royal watchers say Charles will be ready for the day he becomes king.

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When Prince Charles and Camilla arrive in Ottawa on Wednesday, it could well be his last visit as Prince of Wales, his last as the man-to-be king.

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Although Queen Elizabeth II made a surprise public appearance in London on Tuesday at the opening of a new tube line, she turned 96 on April 21 and has gradually been winding down her duties. Last week, for the first time in his 70-year reign, it was Charles who delivered the speech from the throne to open the British Parliament.

Although opinion polls show support for the monarchy falling in Canada, Ottawa royal watchers say Charles will be ready for the day he becomes king.

“He has had the longest apprenticeship for his ascension of anyone in history. He certainly is up for the job,” said Mary de Toro of the Monarchist League of Canada.

“I point out to some people who are a little hesitant about Charles, and Camilla, what His Majesty said: ‘In the fullness of time, when my son Charles becomes king, I know he and the royal consort Camilla will be given your all the support you’ve always given me’”.

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De Toro was a child when Elizabeth became queen. She vividly remembers being in class at Connaught Public School the day George VI died.

“I was in eighth grade and our homeroom teacher, Mrs. Carlisle, was very sad that the King had died and she made us get up and stand by our desk and bow our heads for a minute of silence. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.”

When the 73-year-old Carlos becomes king, he will be the oldest person in history to assume the title. Officially, he will be King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith.

He will also become, like the Queen herself, Canada’s Head of State. That doesn’t sit well with most Canadians. A poll conducted in late April by Angus Reid showed that while 55 per cent of Canadians believe Canada should remain a constitutional monarchy under Elizabeth, only 34 per cent support it under Charles.

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But changing the system would not only be nearly impossible, it would also be a mistake, says Kevin MacLeod, a former Canadian secretary to the Queen of Canada and one-time Black Rod usher for the Senate.

“Most people don’t differentiate between the Crown as a symbol and the Crown as a political institution,” he said.

“And one of the problems is that civics is not taught in high school. If you were to ask the average Canadian, ‘What are the powers of the Crown? What is your role in Parliament? I daresay the answer would be: ‘I have no idea.’ However, people are offering their views on their future.”

MacLeod said that the role of the sovereign today is very different from that of 100 years ago. And the Queen treats her job as Queen of Canada very differently than she does as Queen of the United Kingdom and her other kingdoms.

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Ironically, the framers of the US Constitution gave the president powers modeled on those of George III of Great Britain: the power to veto government bills; the power to appoint cabinet members; and the power to engage in illicit warfare, powers long since taken from the British monarch.

“Sometimes I laugh when people say that every four years the United States elects a new George III,” MacLeod said.

“However, those powers have been taken from the Crown. Under the constitutional monarchy, our system has evolved and kept pace with society. It is so unfortunate that people are willing to pass judgment on an institution that is so intrinsic to our sense of identity. It’s one of those things that helps set us apart from our cousins ​​in the South,” he said.

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“One of its great strengths is its weakness. It works so well behind the scenes that people don’t appreciate the fact that it’s there.”

The royal couple was due to arrive in Ottawa on Tuesday night after spending the day visiting Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Ottawa, Prince Charles will be invested as Commander Extraordinary of the Order of Military Merit in the morning followed by a floral offering at the National War Memorial.

The couple will also visit the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin on Byron Avenue and the Assumption School in Vanier before seeing a special presentation of the RCMP Music Walk.

They will also meet the Prime Minister and Governor General before attending a Platinum Jubilee reception at Rideau Hall on Wednesday night.

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The couple depart Thursday morning for the final day of their Canadian tour, which will be spent in the Northwest Territories.

This visit is Prince Charles’s 19th trip to Canada and Camilla’s fifth. Notable tours in the past include:

1970: Charles’s first trip to Canada when he visited the Northwest Territories with his father, Prince Philip, and his sister, Princess Anne.

1983: Charles visits the Maritimes with his then-wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.

1986: Charles and Diana attend Expo ’86 in Vancouver.

1991: Charles and Diana come to Canada with their sons, William and Harry, marking the youngsters’ first trip abroad.

2009: Charles and Camilla visit Canada together for the first time.

2017: Charles and Camilla attend the festivities on Parliament Hill for Canada 150.

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