Charles and Camilla honour Canadian war dead in Ottawa ceremony

Royal couple on three-day tour of Canada with stop in the Northwest Territories next

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall honoured Canada’s war dead in a poignant wreath-laying ceremony on Wednesday on the second day of their tour of the Commonwealth country.

Charles and Camilla are in Canada as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates seven decades on the throne during her platinum jubilee year.

The couple solemn wreath-laying event at the National War Memorial in the capital Ottawa.

In brilliant sunshine, the couple stood motionless as a bugler played the last post. Before them was the imposing memorial, symbolising the sacrifice of all Canadian military in the cause of freedom in all conflicts.

Charles’s grandfather, King George VI, unveiled the memorial in May 1939 and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added in 2000, the resting place of a Canadian serviceman from a war cemetery near Vimy Ridge, a First World War battle site in France.

At each corner of the tomb a member of the Armed Forces stood on guard facing outwards, head bowed with their arms resting on a rifle.

Charles laid a wreath of poppies while Camilla left a bouquet. Both floral tributes featured handwritten cards from the couple with the words “in grateful remembrance“.

Earlier, Charles was invested as an Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit by the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon.

The prince holds several honorary appointments and ranks with the Canadian military and the order recognises exceptional service by the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The couple are on a three-day tour with stops in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa and the Northwest Territories.

Clarence House said the purpose of the tour was to learn and hear from indigenous Canadians as the country continues to deal with the discovery of unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools across the country.

It also comes as support for the monarchy appears to be on the wane.

A recent online poll by the Angus Reid Institute shows that half of Canadians feel the royal family is no longer relevant to them.

And while most Canadians view the Queen in high regard, the same is not true for the rest of her family.

Fifty-one per cent of those surveyed want Canada to become a republic, something Barbados achieved in November.

"It's the 21st century and there's no reason why we should still be sharing our head of state with the United Kingdom," said Tom Freda, national director of Citizens for a Canadian Republic.

PA contributed to this report

Updated: May 18, 2022, 9:44 PM