Leading up to the announcement of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s upcoming visit to Victoria, a local expert predicted they would likely visit organizations related to mental health, children and art.
Mariel Grant, associate professor at the University of Victoria who specializes in British history, said planners are likely working night and day to figure out a tight schedule that works for the couple and the organizations and events they wish to visit.
And she was right. On Monday, the royal couple’s itinerary was announced.
Grant predicted the royal couple will make Government House in Rockland their home base, as it is where the royal family, including the Queen and Prince Charles, have stayed during past visits.
They will fly into the Victoria International airport on Saturday, Sept. 24. There will also be an official ceremony of welcome to the country at the B.C. legislature, including a full military honour with a 21-gun salute the breaking of His Royal Highness’s Canadian Standard, and an inspection of the Guard of Honour. Prince William and his wife, Kate will also honour Canadian military service by laying a wreath at the Cenotaph.
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Government House will house a tea party with children and their families, including those from the Military Family Resource Centre, a non-profit organization that provides programs and services to military members and their families.
The royal couple will also meet with families, including those currently serving in the Canadian military.
During their last day in Victoria on Saturday, Oct. 1, the duke and duchess will visit the Cridge Centre for the family, which provides shelter, care and hope for children, women families and the elderly, during which they will meet with staff and residents.
Following that, they will meet with members of the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre, designed to help B.C. Children youth and families locate and use resources, at a cafe downtown.
Also that day, Prince William and Kate will sail a tall ship with the Sail and Life Training Society, before making their official departure from Canada at the Victoria Harbour seaplane terminal.
While most of the events they’ll attend will be private, there are often opportunities to shake hands or hand out flowers to the couple during public walkabouts either before or after the events, said Grant.
When it comes to the newest additions to the royal family, Prince George and Princess Charlotte will be making the trip with them.
Grant noted people’s perception of the royal family has changed over the years, with more people young and old excited for the upcoming visit.
“There’s been renewed interest over the years because they’re a young couple. We live in a cult of celebrity . . . they are viewed in the same way that people might view movie stars or rock stars,” she said, adding William is currently second in line to the throne.
“There’s a lot of excitement because they’re internationally known and he’s the future king.”
The royal couple will also visit Vancouver on Sept. 25, an area known as the Great Bear Rainforest, with a stop in Bella Bella on the remote Central Coast on Sept. 26. Sept. 27 features stops in Kelowna and Whitehorse, with an overnight in Yukon and a visit to Carcross Sept. 28. They return to Victoria Sept. 29 and travel to Haida Gwaii on Sept. 30, before wrapping up their tour in Victoria.
The Duke and Duchess made their first official visit to Canada in 2011.
The last royal couple to visit Victoria was Prince Edward and Princess Sophie, the earl and countess of Wessex (the Queen’s youngest son and William’s uncle), when they presented the Duke of Edinburgh Awards to students in B.C. who completed the program. During their week-long visit, they toured various facilities, including Jeneec’s Place at Victoria General Hospital, Our Place Society, the University of Victoria and the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities in September 2014.
They were also hosted at Government House during their stay.
Click here to view the couple’s full itinerary.