Royal couple faces a new generation
A historic visit for some, mere celebrity worship for others
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, will arrive in Canada on Thursday for a royal tour that is prompting a reaction among young people ranging from excited adulation to indifference or even hostility.
The Monarchist League of Canada says that people under 25 make up 15 per cent of its 15,000 members and are the fastest-growing segment.
Matthew Rowe, a spokesman for the league in the Ottawa region, says William and Kate are relevant to young people: "This is monarchy 2.0. This is the new generation. The institution is being reinvented for a new generation."
Tom Richards, 21, is looking forward to meeting Will and Kate at a Monarchist League of Canada reception in Ottawa this week. "Wow, what an honour," he says. "I'm sure we'll be introduced in some way."
Richards once believed Canada should cut ties with the monarchy, but says he changed his mind after studying history and political science at St. Francis Xavier University.
William and Kate have historical importance beyond their appeal as celebrities, he says.
"This is actually Canada's future king and head of state travelling here.… So I think it will just reaffirm the link with the crown for a new generation."
Others turn a 'cold shoulder'
Not everyone shares enthusiasm for the monarchy. Victoria Alarcon is the writer of an article for the York University student newspaper titled "York Students Give Royal Couple the Cold Shoulder."
According to her random survey of 100 students, 71 per cent said that they weren't excited about the royal couple coming to Canada and only five per cent expressed enthusiasm.
"A lot of people are indifferent and there are people that just don't like them. It kind of interferes with our Canadian independence and we've kind of outgrown it," she says.
Alarcon doesn't think Kate will have the same attraction for her generation that Diana had for her mother's.
William and Kate are "younger and more hip than I guess the Queen, but I still don't think that it'll be enough to pull us in," she says.
"A lot of people do not see them as the future king and queen. They're definitely just celebrities to us."
Last year 100,000 people showed up at Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada Day with the Queen, but organizers expect even more to attend when the royal newlyweds appear on Friday.
A new generation of royal watchers will be on hand — as well as those determined to party strictly in honour of Canada's independence.
With files from the CBC’s Karen Pauls and Hannah Thibedeau