A low-key welcome for Charles and Camilla

Itinerary highlights include war brides, Anne of Green Gables, Winnie the Pooh and a polar-bear feeding

HALIFAX — Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, arrived in Canada on Sunday to a low-key welcome from several Canadian dignitaries on the first leg of a four-day tour.

Charles and Camilla, wearing a cream, black and gold tweed coat with black gloves and carrying a Canadian black clutch bag given to her by a Canadian friend, were greeted by nearly two dozen dignitaries under grey skies at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

They included federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.

The royal couple spent a few moments shaking hands and Camilla was presented with a bouquet of blush pink and cream-coloured flowers from Grace Elizabeth Lenihan, 3, and Molly Jane Lenihan, 9, who are sisters from West Chezzetcook, N.S.

Both girls were wearing purple dresses with purple flowers in their hair.

The royal couple were then whisked away to Government House in downtown Halifax, where they met with Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant and his wife, Joan.

Charles, wearing a blue pinstriped suit, was also sworn in to the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada during a private ceremony.

“I … do solemnly and sincerely swear that I shall be a true and faithful servant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council of Canada,” he said near a painting of his grandfather King George VI.

The couple then attended a reception with local, national and international journalists who will trail the couple through three provinces this week.

It’s Charles’s first visit to Nova Scotia since 1983 and the first for the Duchess of Cornwall.

An official welcome ceremony will be held Monday outside Halifax’s city hall, where Charles will make the first of four speeches planned for the tour, which includes stops in Pictou, N.S., the P.E.I. communities of Charlottetown, Bonshaw and Cornwall, as well as Winnipeg.

The theme for the tour — the couple’s second Canadian trip since 2012 — is commemorating Canada’s past and looking ahead to the future.

Later Monday, the Prince of Wales will plant an English oak tree in the city’s Public Gardens, a tradition started 75 years ago by his grandfather King George VI.

The couple will visit historic Pier 21 and the Canadian Museum of Immigration, where they’ll meet war brides and veterans of the Second World War. They’ll also travel to the community of Pictou to learn about the province’s Celtic roots before boarding an aircraft Monday evening bound for Charlottetown.

While in P.E.I.’s capital on Tuesday, the couple will visit the legislature and attend a youth parliament debate. Charles will also be honoured with a medal recognizing his contributions to Canada and deliver his second speech of the tour.

They’ll then tour the city’s arts centre guided by an actress playing Anne of Green Gables before flying to Winnipeg, where they will meet with children and learn about another famous cultural export: Winnie the Pooh.

Charles will also have the opportunity to feed a polar bear at a conservation facility in the Manitoba city — the last stop of their visit.

The heir to the throne will deliver two more speeches in Winnipeg before he and Camilla close the book on another royal tour.

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