Canadian diplomat says King Charles could visit Canada within ‘several months’

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Royal watchers in Canada may not have to wait long for a visit from King Charles III.

The newly crowned sovereign could soon be making his first official trip to the country as King, a Canadian diplomat suggested.

Ralph Goodale, Canada’s high commissioner to the UK, said Canadian and UK officials are already looking at possible dates for a forthcoming visit, noting it could occur “within the course of the next several months.”

“Everybody, I think, is anxious to see that visit take place as soon as it can be physically arranged in a proper way,” said Goodale, speaking with BBC News outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday afternoon, shortly after the King’s coronation ceremony.

Buckingham Palace was unreachable for comment.

Stéphane Shank, a spokesperson for the government of Canada’s Privy Council Office, could not confirm Goodale’s remarks and did not share any additional details about a potential visit.

“Official visits to Canada by The King and other members of the Royal Family are undertaken at the invitation of the Prime Minister,” said Shank in an emailed statement to the Star. “The Government of Canada looks forward to welcoming King Charles III and Queen Camilla, but at this time there is no information to share on upcoming visits.”

King and Queen have developed “strong ties” to Canada, expert says

King Charles III has yet to visit Canada since he ascended to the throne last September. As the Prince of Wales, a title he held for more than six decades, he made 18 official visits to Canada. The most recent — a three-day tour coinciding with the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee — came in May 2022.

That a royal visit may be coming so soon into the reign of Charles III stands in contrast with the late queen’s first official visit to Canada, which came in 1957, more than five years after she became sovereign. Elizabeth II would go on to make 21 other official visits to the country, more than any other Commonwealth nation.

Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based historian, author and royal commentator, said she believes Canada could be one of the King’s first Commonwealth visits as monarch.

“Charles and Camilla have visited Canada for key moments in recent years — the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation,” she told the Star in a phone interview. “So, they have developed strong ties to Canada.”

Possible visit comes amid rising antimonarchy sentiment in Canada

Buckingham Palace is likely hoping a royal visit from the King could boost his popularity among Canadians and help temper republican sentiments in the country.

Charles III is generally viewed less favourably compared to his late mother. A precoronation survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute found a slim majority of Canadians want the country to disassociate from the monarchy. A larger proportion, roughly 60 per cent, oppose recognizing Charles as King.

But an official royal tour does not always guarantee a bump in popularity and a warming of relations between the Crown and the Canadian public. While Charles III’s latest 2022 visit was generally viewed favourably, other tours — like his first visit with Camilla in 2009 — have been received poorly, even drawing notable protests, said Harris.

“There are some that have been very successful, some that have been very topical and others that have been comparatively subdued,” she added.

Speaking with BBC News, Goodale appeared to brush off concerns about antimonarchy sentiments in Canada.

“It’s only natural (for those questions to arise) after the previous monarch had been there for so many years,” he said on the broadcast. “But I think it also provides an opportunity for some very important civic information and education about how a democratic constitutional monarchy works, and why it is important to have separation between head of government, where all the political action is, and head of state.”

Expensive price tag a concern for previous royal visits

Questions also remain about what the King’s first visit to Canada as monarch will look like. Some previous royal tours have drawn criticism for their lavishness and expensive price tag. (The King and Queen’s recent three-day visit in 2022, when they were known, respectively, as the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, cost taxpayers at least $1 million.)

Since ascending to the throne, however, Charles III has projected a relatively more modest image of the monarchy compared to his predecessors: his coronation Saturday was significantly smaller than that of his mother, and designs for a new British stamp commemorating his reign, approved by the King himself, drew headlines for its simplicity and lack of a crown.

Although the King’s royal tour would likely include official engagements, Harris expects it to also be comparatively relaxed.

“King Charles III and Queen Camilla will also be interested in meeting Canadians from all walks of life,” said Harris. “So, we’ll likely see some more informal moments as well, even though he will now be touring as a reigning sovereign.”

Crown-Indigenous relationship will likely play key role in tour

Indigenous reconciliation will almost certainly play a key role in any of the King’s future royal visits to Canada. As Prince of Wales, Charles III spoke often of the importance fostering Crown-Indigenous relationships, which was one of the priorities of his visit last year.

Ahead of his coronation, the King met with Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed and Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron, along with Gov. Gen. Mary Simon.

Archibald, who has previously urged the monarchy to apologize for its role in Canada’s colonial history, said the meeting was a chance to “evolve the relationship with the Crown,” which predates confederation.

“One of the issues that is important to us is that nation-to-nation relationship that we have had and continue to have,” she said, adding that the meeting was “very positive.”

She noted the leaders hope to meet with the King again, both virtually and during an eventual in-person visit.

With files by The Canadian Press


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