Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Royal reminder

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Prince Charles laughs with Lt. Gov. Philip Lee after a wet and windy arrival on the tarmac at CFB Winnipeg Tuesday evening. The royal couple will visit Winnipeg for 27 hours.

MELISSA TAIT / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Prince Charles laughs with Lt. Gov. Philip Lee after a wet and windy arrival on the tarmac at CFB Winnipeg Tuesday evening. The royal couple will visit Winnipeg for 27 hours. Photo Store

As a measure of one's devotion to the job, imagine being told by the boss to get on a plane, jet six hours across the ocean and spend three days hopping, every hour, from one event to the next in largely ceremonial duty to the head office. You must leave a trail of goodwill and enduring attachment to the mother ship. There's a promotion in this for you; nothing in the near future, however.

That would stand in, roughly, as the mission for Charles, the Prince of Wales, on his extended Victoria Day trip to Canada. He touched down in Halifax on Sunday night and heads home from Winnipeg tonight. The whirlwind tour of three provinces in three days is a feat of endurance: He introduces his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, this time, while smiling incessantly, shaking endless hands and issuing greetings to all.

They are also spending hours, privately, with volunteers, social services groups and with veterans and their families. The latter group is of special interest to Charles, who gives his attention and financial support through one of his charitable foundations to help former soldiers start their own businesses. In Halifax, they met with families of veterans who died in Afghanistan. In Winnipeg today, they will meet with members of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and the Toronto-based Queen's Own Rifles Regiment.

Few Canadians will get a chance to meet the royal couple, so the trip may do little to bolster tepid support for the monarchy here. It is, however, a brief and subtle reminder of the country's historical roots, its history as a colonial product and the continuing legacy, in law, government and constitution, it enjoys as a Commonwealth nation.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 21, 2014 A8

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