Final Day of the Royal Tour: 4 Ps for Charles and Camilla in Winnipeg
WINNIPEG – Polar bears and planes, pirouettes and the pooh took center stage as Prince Charles and his wife Camilla spent the final day of their four-day royal tour in the capital Manitoba on Wednesday.
Charles may be used to having his meals served, but at Assiniboine Park Zoo the tables were turned when he played the waiter for Hudson the polar bear.
There was an expression of mock trepidation on the prince’s face as he approached the 200-pound animal that sat on the other side of a chain-link fence.
Charles used tongs to offer fish to two-year-old Hudson, who happily devoured the treat.
The prince noticed the size of Hudson’s paws and a zoo keeper explained how polar bears can pull prey from the water with one swipe in the wild.
While Charles was hanging out with a bear, Camilla attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife, Laureen.
The Duchess of Cornwall, wearing a silver-blue dress and cloak, toured the cloakroom and costume department, where she called the costumes “works of art”.
“Look at all of the shoes,” she commented as she examined the ballet shoes.
The wardrobe director Alena Zharska explained how the costumes are put together and showed Camilla a pattern for a tutu.
“How long does it take?” asked the duchess.
“Usually 50 to 60 hours,” said Zharska.
The Duchess attended a ballet class for people with physical and developmental disabilities, watched a pas de deux, and unveiled a coin designed by the Royal Canadian Mint in honor of the 75th anniversary of ballet.
Hudson wasn’t the only bear to make it onto the royal agenda.
Charles and Camilla toured a small gallery of artwork, books, and other materials related to Winnie, a black bear named after Winnipeg who inspired children’s author AA Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” stories
The couple looked at a 1930 Ernest Shepard oil painting of the bear staring into a honey pot and also saw a photo of the original bear.
“You look so familiar,” Charles said to Camilla.
The day began at Red River College’s Stevenson aircraft hangar, where the royal couple joined the Harpers.
Charles and Camilla took turns tossing paper planes that were folded by children and were given a tiny flying jacket for their grandson, Prince George.
In a speech, Charles noted that things are different in the province than they were when he last visited in 1996, but one thing remains the same.
“What has certainly not changed is the vitality of this province and the optimism for Canada’s future,” he said.
The prince was a pilot in the Air Force at a young age, paying tribute to those who can repair aircraft.
“I have a very determined admiration – respect – for these wonderful engineers who can actually take these things apart and put them back together, usually after a pilot breaks them or does something bad to them.”
In the afternoon, the prince spoke about introducing a Canadian version of his Seeing Is Believing program that brings business leaders to disadvantaged communities and engages them with social responsibility issues.
“Almost 25 years ago I realized that there was a tremendous missed opportunity … for business leaders to better understand the social and environmental issues affecting their communities and to try to do something about them,” he said.
“I’m so proud that, with the help of my Prince’s Charities Canada, a similar initiative has now taken root in Canada. Often, half the battle is getting companies to share their management skills and the ability of these organizations to help people through. ” the endless bureaucracy.
“My Seeing is Believing programs are about encouraging corporate and community leaders like yourself to use entrepreneurship to address community needs in an integrated manner with a long-term perspective.”
Charles said the next step is to connect business leaders in several Canadian cities – including Winnipeg, Calgary, Regina, Toronto and Halifax – as part of Prince’s Canadian Responsible Business Network.
“I look forward to the pilot projects in Winnipeg, Halifax and Toronto in the coming months that will focus on equipping disadvantaged young people with work readiness, employability and skills,” he said. “It seems to me that there are so many ways you can make a real difference.”
He thanked billionaire food empire mogul Galen Weston for his leadership in shaping the beginnings of the new network, as well as RBC and Scotiabank.
Charles did not mention anything he reportedly made at the start of the trip comparing Russian President Valdimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine with Adolf Hitler.
According to the UK Daily Mail, Charles made the comment while visiting the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax.
The newspaper quoted museum volunteer Marienne Ferguson as saying her Jewish family fled Poland to Canada when the German army approached before WWII.
In it Ferguson is quoted as saying that she told Charles about her family background and the prince then said to her: “And now Putin is doing about the same as Hitler.”
The Canadian press could not reach Ferguson for comment.
The prince was scheduled to address the Legislature Wednesday evening at an Order of Manitoba investiture held shortly before a farewell ceremony for him and his wife.