Mary Simon Welcomes Prince Of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall To Ottawa

Governor General Mary Simon, who lived in Manotick for years, welcomed Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla to Ottawa. They were in the Capital as part of their three-day Queen Jubilee Tour to Canada.

By Charlie Senack, Manotick Messenger

Governor General Mary Simon, who has a strong connection to Manotick, welcomed the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to Canada in mid May, to promote truth and reconciliation among other important issues. 

Simon was first in St. John’s Newfoundland on Tuesday, May 17, where she officially welcomed Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. There they visited the provincial legislature, a picturesque Quidi Vidi Village, and ended the day by pouring a pint of beer. 

While the Royals focus was to promote the British Monarchy, for Canadians it was an opportunity to further Truth and reconciliation efforts, which also focused on climate change and the war in Ukraine. 

The Governor General started by greeting the Royal couple in her native tongue of Inuktitut, and said their tour of Canada would be both educational and eye opening. 

“I encourage you to speak to Indiginous peoples, to hear their stories, their successes, and their solutions, and I encourage you to learn the truth of our history, the good and the bad,” Simon said. “In this way we will promote healing, understanding, and respect; And in this way we will also promote Reconciliation which is not one act or project, nor does it have an end date; it’s a lifelong commitment to learning about Indiginous communities and about their lives and lived realities,” 

Governor General Mary Simon welcomes Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla to Rideau Hall. (Rideau Hall Photo)

Prince Charles and Camilla were last in Ottawa for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. This visit was the Prince of Wales 19th visit to Canada, and Camilla’s fifth. 

Simon said this visit comes at a crucial time with many major world events happening all at once. 

“It’s more important now than ever to engage in dialogue, particularly as we face global challenges,” said Simon. “Challenges such as the ongoing pandemic, the heartbreaking war in Ukraine, or climate change, which is having a devastating impact on our land and way of life, including in the Arctic.”

There were calls for Prince Charles to apologize on behalf of the monarchy this trip, but that never came. Instead the Prince of Wales recognized the pain and suffering many Indiginous peoples faced, saying we all need to do better. 

“We look to our collective future, as one people sharing one planet, we must find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of the past: acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better. It is a process that starts with listening,” Prince Charles said in Newfoundland . “I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss with the Governor-General the vital process of reconciliation in this country – not a one-off act, of course, but an ongoing commitment to healing, respect and understanding. I know that our visit here this week comes at an important moment — with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples across Canada committing to reflect honestly and openly on the past and to forge a new relationship for the future.”

On Wednesday Charles and Camilla visited Ottawa, where they began their morning at the National War monument downtown with Governor General Simon and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. That was followed by a trip to a Ukrainian church in Westboro, where they attended a prayer service and made perogies. In the afternoon they toured the ByWard market, went to an elementary school in Vanier, attended the musical ride, hosted various meetings, and wrapped it up with a gala at Rideau Hall. 

Thursday marked a wrap of the Royals three-day trip to Canada, which saw them travel to Yellowknife, where they learned about Dene culture. 

The visit was part of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee marking her 70 years as head of the monarch. With Charles in line to become future king, the Royals want to strengthen ties with Canadians, after recent polls show a majority of residents in this country want to abolish the British monarchy.  Even so, thousands flocked to various locations across the capital to catch a glimpse of Charles and Camilla. 

This was Simon’s first time welcoming Royals to Canada after becoming Governor General in July 2021. In March of this year, she had an opportunity to meet the Queen at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom. 

Before taking up her current post and moving to Rideau Hall, Simon and her husband Whit Fraser called Manotick home for many years.