The Princess Royal (Anne)Famously regarded as the hardest working member of the Royal Family, based on the sheer number of engagements she undertakes throughout the world, The Queen’s daughter has made 23 homecomings to Canada. Some of these include engagements on behalf of international organizations for which she holds particular concern. These include the Save the Children Fund and the Mission to Seafarers together with the Commonwealth Study Conference. The Princess is also patron of both the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association and of The Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.
One of HRH’s most recent Canadian homecomings was to Ontario in 2013, and centered on three of her military appointments. In Barrie, the Princess dedicated the site of a Military Heritage Park as she made her first visit to the Grey and Simcoe Foresters. Continuing to CFB Borden, Anne presented the recently-renamed Royal Canadian Medical Services with her Banner, a new Colour to honour the vital role the unit has played since Canadians deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. Later, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario held a Reception in the Princess’ honour so that she could meet members of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Leaders Conference and of the Royal Victorian Order Association. The tour concluded in Kingston, where the Princess Royal received a public municipal welcome, visited CFB Kingston, and honoured the 110th Anniversary of the CF Communications & Electronics Branch with her Banner.
In November, 2014, the federal Government organized an official Homecoming for the Princess in the Ottawa region, the highlight of which was HRH’s joining the Governor General at the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial. Anne re-dedicated the Memorial 75 years after her Grandfather, George VI, had dedicated it in 1939. 2016 brought the Princess to Newfoundland where she visited Corner Brook and St John’s. In addition to a number of private engagements, HRH presented new Colours to her regiment, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, during which the flower of the then-Colony had been cut down at Beaumont Hamel.
The Duke of York (Andrew)Together with the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke of York is the most involved of the minor members of the Royal Family in Canada and makes homecomings here on a frequent basis, sometimes twice or more in a given year. One reason for his interest lies in the fact that he spent a half-year as a student at a Canadian boarding school, Lakefield College, near Peterborough, Ontario, from January to June 1977. This experience provided Andrew a network of Canadian friends and a broad knowledge of Canada, extended during frequent holiday trips here which have included several challenging canoe expeditions in the wilderness.
A good many of the Duke’s 25 homecomings to Canada have hinged on his role as a trustee of Lakefield College (and patron of the College’s Friends), and from his interest in education generally, although they have also included engagements on behalf of organizations as diverse as the Empire Club of Toronto, the Monarchist League of Canada and the BC Children’s Hospital. The Duke is Colonel-in-Chief of three Canadian regiments: The Queen’s York Rangers 1st American Regiment (Toronto), The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Cambridge, ON) and the Princess Louise Fusiliers (Halifax); he formerly served the now-disbanded Canadian Airborne Regiment in the same capacity. He is also patron of the Canadian Canoe Museum, the Canadian International Air Show, of the Royal United Services Institute of Alberta and of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.
The Duke most recently came to Canada in June of 2014 with a visit to Ontario focused on celebrating the service of one of his Regiments, The Queen’s York Rangers, who received five new battle honours to their Guidon. In Aurora, Andrew bearing the names community residents (Aurora is in the York Region of the province) who had received the Diamond Jubilee Medal. HRH then addressed a fundraising lunch for the Regimental Assistance Fund, during which he lauded the role of Reservists in the Canadian Forces. He then proceeded to Toronto where the Lieutenant Governor held a reception for him and the Regiment paraded its augmented Guidon at Old Fort York.