Prince Charles and Camilla jet home after 4-day visit
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla boarded a jet Wednesday night to head home to London after a four-day Canadian tour that included stops in New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
It was the prince's 16th visit to Canada and the second for the Duchess of Cornwall.
A performance by the Regina Symphony Orchestra in a drill hall at the RCMP training academy put a end note on the tour.
In his closing remarks, Charles said it was difficult to choose a highlight of the visit because he was so impressed by everyone he met.
The tour was promoted as a tribute to the Queen's Jubilee and the prince presented medals at stops along the way to Canadians who had excelled in community service.
The evening's musical program included a medley of Beatles songs and selections from classical composers Wagner and Tchaikovsky.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was with the prince for the concert. He also announced that Charles had been named honorary commissioner of the RCMP and presented Charles with a shabrack, or saddle cloth.
In his speech, Charles shared a personal story from his youth, recalling that his mother Queen Elizabeth, must have been presented, on some visit to Canada, with a complete uniform of the RCMP, for a child.
"Anyway, there in the photograph album is a picture of me wearing this uniform," he said to the delight of the audience.
"My wife and I take with us today your countless good wishes and congratulations to the Queen," he said in concluding his remarks. "I shall deliver them with the greatest pride on my return to London."
Although they were warmly welcomed in Regina, the weather was cold and rainy most of the day.
But Regina's royal watchers were still keen to see Charles and Camilla on Wednesday.
About 400 people gathered outside the Legislative Building as the royal couple's motorcade pulled up.
Amid cheers and more than a few raindrops, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall stopped to greet people in the crowd before going inside with Premier Brad Wall.
Matthew Skotnitsky, who is in Grade 1 at W. S. Hawrylak School and had put on his best white shirt, tie and pants for the occasion, was thrilled at seeing the royal couple.
"I just wanted to dress up nice for them so they would be happy for me," he said.
Andrea Lee and her husband took the day off from work for a chance to shake the Prince's hand. She couldn't believe he stopped and talked to her.
"It was so nice to actually see and meet a royal," she said. "Future king of England, that's huge."
Inside the Legislative Chamber, Wall led off with several jokes and noted that Saskatchewan's unofficial slogan is "Hard to spell, but easy to draw."
Charles replied with a quip of his own about mosquitoes, but on a more serious note also said the whole visit to Canada has been a moving experience.
"Over the past three days I can say from the heart that we have been, both been, incredibly moved by the stories of the literally hundreds and hundreds of Canadians we have met who have selflessly served their communities," he said, "whether it is running a breakfast club at their local school or teaching young people practical skills for future employment."
Charles was at the legislature to present more Diamond Jubilee medals, celebrating community service.
First Nations University visit
The tour continued in the afternoon with a visit at the First Nations University of Canada.
Music and dancers greeted Charles and Camilla, who smiled broadly as they stopped outside the university's building to watch.
Inside, they looked at a number of displays relating to job opportunities for First Nations students.
A business student at the university, Jacob Pratt, gave an impromptu flute performance.
"It was pretty cool," Pratt said later. "I never thought Prince Charles would ask for my CD or to play for him. So it was pretty neat to get that request."
Pratt added the royal visit was meaningful.
"I think it's very important," he said. "It just reinforces the relationship between the monarchy and First Nations people because there is a very long and rich history of First Nations people to the Crown. So for then to still honour that relationship is a good thing to see."
After the university, Charles continued the tour with a visit to a company called Ground Effects, where founder Sean Frisky provided an overview of the environmental clean-up work his company does.
Small talk with PM
Back at the Hotel Saskatchewan, Charles met briefly with Harper.
"It's delightful to have you here in this Diamond Jubilee year," Harper said during the meeting. "It's been very well received."
Charles responded that he felt he had been warmly welcomed.
"It's been marvellous," he said, although he noted the wet weather in Regina. "Good weather in Toronto."
With files from The Canadian Press