Prince Charles and Camilla visit Canada on platinum jubilee royal tour

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Toronto – when Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arrived in Canada on Tuesday Celebrating seventy years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reignthey will find themselves facing the painful and enduring legacy of British colonization and empire.

The couple will begin their three-day trip in Newfoundland and Labrador, where they will join their itinerary for “a solemn moment of reflection and prayer” in the Garden of Heart to mark Thousands of Aboriginal children die in boarding school Tributes to survivors and their families.

Over the past year, Canada is grappling with evidence of unmarked graves found on or near the site of a government-funded church-run school.Beginning in the 19th century, Aboriginal In many cases, children are forcibly removed from their homes and assimilated into boarding schools, where they are forbidden to speak their native language or practice their own culture. The last boarding school closed in the 1990s. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded in 2015 that the system amounted to “cultural genocide.”

Charles and Camilla’s The itinerary will also take them to Ottawa and the Northwest Territories, including prayers in Inuit, Mi’kmaq music, fire offering ceremonies and visits to Aboriginal communities to learn about efforts to preserve their languages, as well as more standard royal tours such as in the capital Ceremony at the National War Memorial.

“There are moments in this tour that are traditional,” said royal historian Caroline Harris, a lecturer at the University of Toronto. “But when we looked at the itinerary, we found it was pretty hot…and full of events relevant to the 2020s.”

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Clarence House has said the tour will “emphasize the emphasis on learning from Aboriginal people”. But in a country where demonstrators against the abuse of indigenous people have in recent years torn down statues of the British monarch — including those of Elizabeth and her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria — some want more than listen.

“The entire colonial power structure is responsible for the boarding school system,” said Chief Stuart Philip, president of the British Columbia Union of Indian Chiefs. “I think they should definitely apologize.”

Cassidy Caron, President of the Métis National Assembly, Say the Anglican Church ran early boarding schools and Canada was a British colony. If she met Charles at an engagement she attended in Ottawa, she planned to tell him that, as leader of the Church of England, the global Anglican parent church, the queen should listen to survivors and acknowledge the harm done to them.

“The Queen can definitely play a role in reconciliation,” Cullen said. “It would be great to start with an apology.”

The visit comes at a complicated time for the royal family, 96-year-old Elizabeth is in the twilight of her reign and some royal headaches – domestically and internationally – threaten to overshadow the festivities to mark her platinum jubilee.

Prince Harry, who stepped down from royal duties last year, plans to publish an “intimate” memoir this year. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Queen’s grandson and his biracial wife Meghan said an unnamed royal had asked questions about the colour of their unborn child.

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Elizabeth’s second son, Prince Andrew, settled in February a sexual abuse lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed she was abducted by financier Jeffrey Epstein to him and forced to have sex with him relationships, including twenty years ago, when she was 17 years old.

In November, Barbados became the first in nearly 30 years to Abandon the Queen as head of state and declare yourself a republicprovide potential inspiration The remaining 15 territories, particularly those in the Caribbean, are in a broader reckoning of colonialism, in part due to the Black Lives Matter movement.

middle rock royal tour sometimes to the caribbean This year, family members faced calls for apologies and reparations for the slave trade, while pictures of the royals echoed the empire’s past, which critics said was daunting and disjointed.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Queen’s grandson Prince William and his wife Catherine in March that island country Will “move on” at some point. Their tour sparked protests at several stops; a planned visit to Belize’s cocoa farm was interrupted amid local opposition.

When the Queen’s third son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie visited Antigua and Barbuda in April, the country’s prime minister told them it aspired to “become a republic at some point” – even if it “doesn’t Possibly” now. The pair “postponed” their visit to Grenada, citing the advice of local officials.

The visits have raised questions about the monarchy’s place in the Commonwealth and whether royal tours still make sense or should be reimagined.

Harris said Canada is often a “friendly” destination for members of the royal family. But while the queen is still respected in the country, even among non-monarchists, her first son and heir to the throne, Charles, is less popular.he No longer attracting the huge crowds that greeted him and Princess Diana in the 1980s.

Opinion polls here show support for keeping the country as a constitutional monarchy is declining, especially under King Charles. But severing those ties would be a complex process, requiring constitutional amendments backed by both houses of parliament and all 10 provincial legislatures.

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“It seems unlikely that politicians will choose to stake their careers on reopening the constitution to transition from a monarchy to a republic,” Harris said. “In the 21st century, it’s more likely that our visibility into the royal family will be Reduced.”

Such a move could also require a re-enactment or reopening of treaties between the royal family and Aboriginal peoples.

Members of the royal family have met Aboriginal leaders here during several visits to Canada.

In 1970, during a 10-day trip, an Aboriginal leader welcomed Elizabeth, noting that a century since his ancestors signed a treaty with Queen Victoria, “the promises of peace and harmony, social progress and equal opportunity have not been fulfilled by us. people.”

“We hope that His Majesty’s representatives will now be able to … acknowledge past inequalities and take steps to correct the treatment of Manitoba Indians,” said David Curshing of the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood.

During a royal visit in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, Charles and Camilla were criticized for laughing during a performance by Iqaluit’s guttural Inuit singer.

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In 2016, William and Kate were greeted by a large crowd during their tour of Canada – billed as “helping to celebrate Canada’s Indigenous communities”. But several prominent Aboriginal leaders have turned down invitations to a reconciliation ceremony in Victoria, British Columbia – a provincial capital named after the British monarch.

Chief Philip was among them. Such trips often “whitewash the brutality of the Aboriginal colonial experience,” he said.

“In my opinion, these are just grandiose photo manipulations,” he said. “They were trying to make themselves look good, and the statements they made had no substance. There was no effort to make it right.”


An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Queen Victoria as Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandmother. Victoria was Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother. Article corrected.

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