A royal welcome for Prince Charles and Camilla

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on May 20, 2014

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are in Anne’s land.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Prince Edward Island Monday evening, ending their Victoria Day with a bang in Charlottetown with musical celebrations and fireworks.



They received a warm welcome from a large crowd of Islanders, who flocked by the hundreds to the square around Province House to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

They walked down Richmond Street to a stage built for them beside the legislature to watch the concerts and fireworks display.

As they walked, they waved and shook hands with Islanders, who were thrilled with the opportunity to brush with royalty.

Sydney MacLeod said she went to Province House to take in the festivities, but would have gone just to see the royal couple, even if the other events were not happening.

“Just because they’re part of P.E.I., and everybody’s coming together to see them.”

The couple was treated to a concert featuring some of P.E.I.’s most well-known and accomplished artists.

Singer-songwriter Catherine McLellan performed her father’s iconic song Snowbird, Island comedian Patrick Ledwell delivered some P.E.I.-flavoured standup and the Island’s Tim Chaisson also performed.

Chaisson said afterward he was thrilled to play for not only the Prince and Duchess, but also for the hundreds who gathered to take in the festivities.

“It was a real treat, it was really kind of a little rush up there,” Chaisson said.

 “It was neat playing as they walked in and then they got to hear a song... I hope they liked it.”

The prince was spotted tapping his toes as he watched the musical performances and laughed at several of Ledwell’s jokes.

One of the main performances of the evening came from actor Wade Lynch, who reprised his comic impersonation of Queen Elizabeth II.

He jokingly requested Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, take a ‘selfie’ in front of the Town of Cornwall sign when she visits the Island community Tuesday.

He also told the story of how Anne of Green Gables the Musical was actually inspired by the real Queen Elizabeth, after she saw a performance of the song Anne of Green Gables at a variety show in P.E.I. 50 years ago.

The Queen told one of the songwriters, Don Harron, she wished she could see the rest of the show, assuming it was an excerpt from a full musical. Harron took this as an unofficial royal decree for one to be written.

A year later Anne of Green Gables the Musical made its world debut at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

“So it’s fair to say, your majesty, that it’s because of you that we’ve had 50 years of humble pie and ice cream,” an actress portraying Anne of Green Gables said to Lynch’s Queen Elizabeth.

Throughout the evening, the royal couple chatted with dignitaries who made up the official welcoming delegation from P.E.I.

Prince Charles was seated next to federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, and the two chatted casually throughout the performances.

Shea said afterward he was interested in finding out who the performers were and wanted to know about Prince Edward Island and its history.

She also had the opportunity to ask him some questions.

“I asked if he could speak French, which he replied, in French, only a little,” Shea said.

She also asked about William and Kate’s new baby, Prince George.

“He said, like every grandparent, he doesn’t get to see him often enough.”

Shea said the prince was also quite impressed with the story about his mother’s influence in the creation of the Anne of Green Gables musical.

“He didn’t know that story, I didn’t know it either. He was pretty impressed by that.”

As for how he felt about Lynch’s portrayal of the Queen, Shea said he did not say much.

“Of course I knew Wade was coming out dressed as the Queen, and I just said, ‘I hope you brought your sense of humour with you.’ But I think he took it all in stride.”

Shortly after the fireworks began, the couple made their way back through the crowd and retired for the evening at Fanningbank.

On Tuesday, they will spend a busy day touring locations in Charlottetown, Cornwall and Bonshaw.

Prince Charles will deliver his second of only four speeches during his tour in Canada on Tuesday afternoon at the Confederation Centre.

“It was an honour to meet Their Royal Highnesses as they arrived in our province, I look forward to taking the next day and showing them some of what Prince Edward Island has to offer,” said P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz.

Earlier in the day, when they first arrived to the Island, the royal couple was greeted at the airport by Birchwood Intermediate student Cameron Gordon.

He presented them with flowers.

It was an especially exciting day for him, as Monday was his 14th birthday.

“It was really good to meet the prince and his wife,” Cameron said afterward.

“I was really excited. I’m going to tell my friends at school tomorrow that I met the prince. I’m really happy.”



Tuesday, May 20

10:05 a.m. - Arrive at Province House to attend a youth parliament debate and visit the historic Confederation chamber

10:50 a.m. - Depart on foot for the Confederation Centre of the Arts. There will be a walkabout where the public will get a chance to see the royal couple

10:55 a.m. - Arrive at Confederation Centre of the Arts

11:35 a.m. - Prince Charles heads to Holland College

11:35 a.m. - Camilla departs for Prince Edward Home where she will meet with residents, staff and volunteers of the home and learn about various medical interventions and social activities offered at the home, such as pet and art therapy and reading programs

2 p.m. - Their Royal Highnesses arrive at Cornwall United Church to view a presentation by local choirs, meet Island groups, including women’s organizations, veterans, community groups and volunteers and visit displays by the women’s institute, the PEIR Museum, seniors’ federation, Pony Club and Scouts and Girl Guides of P.E.I.

2:50 p.m. - Prince Charles departs for Bonshaw Provincial Park to see the new trail system and meet with Earth Rangers, Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth athletes

3 p.m. - The Duchess of Cornwall arrives at Immanuel Christain School to meet children and staff

4:05 p.m. - Royal couple arrives at Charlottetown Airport for departure