“The Diamond Jubilee is one of many anniversaries that are bringing Canadians together to celebrate our rich history and bright future. The Tour by Their Royal Highnesses will help Canadians mark this historic anniversary while highlighting the selfless devotion of thousands of Canadians who have made significant contributions to their communities and our country.” —Prime Minister Stephen Harper
The Queen has asked members of the Royal Family to represent her in each Realm and many other Commonwealth countries during the busy year of the Diamond Jubilee. So it is that the heir to the Throne and his Consort, Charles and Camilla, come to Canada—directly representing The Queen at her specific request. Through their presence in several Canadian communities, and to the larger audience on television and the social media, all of us have the opportunity to reflect on how much we have developed as a country during The Queen’s 60 years on the Throne, six decades of selfless service and warm friendship on the part of our Monarch. Thus in welcoming Charles and Camilla, we are paying respects to The Queen and to that stable form of government which continues to make Canada’s democracy the envy of the world.
Q: How do you justify the cost of this visit?
A: The visit will cost each Canadian a few pennies. Quite apart from the importance of the visit of Canada’s future Monarch and his Consort, and the opportunity it will give Canadians to honour The Queen on her Jubilee, the presence of the Royals also infuses many multiples of its cost into the economies of the provinces and cities they will visit through the expenditures of local well-wishers, tourists, and the media, not to mention the publicity generated to encourage future visitors.
Q: Why do so many in the public and media—even in the Monarchist League—refer to the Royal couple as Charles and Camilla? Isn’t this disrespectful?
A: No disrespect is shown when we familiarly speak of Their Royal Highnesses as “Charles and Camilla”. There is a time for formality and for the use of formal titles. But, as in our own families, much of the time we show our affection by referring to members in more relaxed ways, using first names or nicknames. The popular imagination of the world chose to use the casual and inaccurate term “Princess Di”—which underlined her great popularity. Similarly the Commonwealth often referred to the late Queen Mother as “Queen Mum”. We often refer to members of the Royal Family as we do to our own family, thus Elizabeth and Philip, William and Kate, and so on.
Q: Some people don’t like the Prince of Wales.
A: There are often people we don't like in our own families and workplaces, even folk we run into at church or in line at the supermarket. This is normal. But we don't as a result call for the end of manners or the family! The tragedy of Charles and Diana's marriage is also mirrored in our own experience: about half of Canadian marriages break up. Very often the bitterness and feelings expressed in such a situation are to be regretted; they cause family and friends to take sides, and cover neither principal with credit. So it was with Charles and Diana. We should not be hypocrites about their situation, played out in the cruelest imaginable way before a world audience and the feeding frenzy of tabloids. For we all know how many in our own circles have found happiness in a second marriage. We must respect the fact that Princes William and Harry have declared their support for their father's re-marriage, and that The Queen recently honoured Camilla by appointing her to the Royal Victorian Order. If the marriage works for the couple, and both our Queen and Charles’ sons approve of it, should we not move on, bury the unhappy past and concentrate on the present?
Q: Why can’t Prince William become our King immediately when the Queen dies?
A: Well-meaning Canadians who admire Prince William sometimes ask this question. First, it is virtually impossible on a constitutional basis—as altering the succession to the Throne would involve each of the Commonwealth Realms (countries where, like Canada, the Queen is head of state) giving approval. In Canada’s case, this might well necessitate each province’s legislature debating and then approving the change, a lengthy and politically- messy process which would permit political and personal agendas in the provinces to hold the alteration hostage—we all remember what can ensue when the Constitution is “opened up”. Then, too, the Prince of Wales, an engaged, intellectual and committed expert on matters ranging from environment and architecture to the relations between Islam and the West, has been trained from birth to occupy the Throne. Those considerations apart, people who admire William and Catherine might on reflection wish for them to have what was denied our present Queen—some years of relatively “normal” married life in which to raise their children without the pressures and formality of William’s occupying the Throne.
Q: Will Camilla someday become Queen?
Public opinion will play a significant role to determine whether Camilla will become Queen Consort. The only official statement on the matter came at the time of Charles and Camilla’s marriage, when it was said her title when Charles assumes the Throne would be that of “Princess Consort”. This might be true in practice, although the concept of a morganatic marriage (where the wife does not share the style and titles of her husband) is unknown in British and Canadian law—which would make Camilla legally Queen no matter how she might choose to be styled. In any event, no matter the style adopted, there will be an important distinction between Charles and Camilla’s positions. Charles will be the reigning King, Canada’s monarch and head of state, exactly as the Queen is today. Whatever it may be, Camilla’s title will be one of courtesy and respect. She would occupy the same position as the late Queen Mother, who was styled “Queen Elizabeth” during the reign of her husband, King George VI. Her role will also be analogous to that of the Duke of Edinburgh today. In other words, the future role of Camilla, whether as Queen or Princess Consort, will be to provide love to Charles and support to the Throne, but under no circumstances will she occupy it or hold any formal constitutional position.
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|Dan Whaley, Chairman
| Benjamin Hendriksen
|Keith Roy, Vancouver
|Josh Traptow, Calgary
|Marlene McCracken, Kingston