Saturday, November 7, 2009

Royalty on the Lawn

Despite it being a rather mucky day out, we tromped down the two blocks to the Provincial Legislature to join the crowd welcoming Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall (or, as Billie Piper says, “Ca-MILLA!”) to Victoria. It was his fourth (or fifth, some confusion there) official visit, and her first. I though you would enjoy seeing a couple of pictures I was able to snap:

Owly Images

Owly Images

Whatever you might think of Camilla, Prince Charles certainly still seems very fond of her, holding her hand most of the time and mentioning her frequently. The welcoming was handled in the usual way, with tribute from both the Premier (Gordon Campbell, not many people’s favourite politician anymore but this was not the place for protests or rudeness towards him) and the First Nations chiefs of the Esquimalt people.

The crowd and their emotions were tempered by the poor weather, but few people command a sense of history like Prince Charles, who has been Prince and Heir Apparent since before I was born. In his remarks, Charles joked about his age, but as I get older I do seem to have inherited that most English of traits, a love of things that are steady and constant and old, and Prince Charles, by nature of his unchanging status, has certainly become one of those things.

Of course, he is descended from Queen Elizabeth II, who is soon to follow his visit here, and his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, so chances are that he will continue to be Prince for quite some time to come, as QEII has made it clear she’s out to break Victoria’s record reign if she can, meaning it’s unlikely Charles will ever be crowned King, that honour likely passing to one of his two sons. In a way its sad -- always the bridesmaid, so to speak -- but I wonder if he ever had that much interest in being King, given that he’s likely accomplished much if not all of what he would have been able to do in that post without that particular title ... or its responsibilities.

Ironically, he and Camilla will be back in the province very soon, promising to attend the Winter Olympics in February 2010 in nearby Vancouver and Whistler. I hope they’ll get a good view of the beauty of Victoria while they are here ... we’re right on the cusp of winter and the leaves are still glorious, even if more of them are on the ground that in the trees at this point.

Even Camilla got a nice surprise on this visit -- one of the members of the crowd was an old schoolmate of hers, who held up a yellow sign and sure enough got spotted and reunited: