Shortly after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot on May 19, 2018, the royal couple’s honeymoon plans will take them to Namibia, an African member of the Commonwealth.
Prince Harry chose not to follow the lead of his older brother Prince William and his bride, who made Canada their first international destination after their 2011 wedding.
The Queen and other royals have made more than 135 visits to Canada since the country marked its centennial in 1967. Most were public engagements by members of the Royal Family, including the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, an ever-popular royal until her death in 2002.
Occasionally, their duties brought them to Parliament. Queen Elizabeth II twice read a Speech from the Throne in the Senate Chamber at the opening of a parliamentary session. Most royal visits, however, have been goodwill tours to mark historic anniversaries, support charities or attend sports events like the Olympics or artistic performances. The Queen Mother, whose fondness for horse-racing was well known, watched the running of the Queen’s Plate in Toronto four times.
Here’s a look at some recent and not-so-recent royal visits to Canada:
- Prince William and Prince Harry, 1991 — Both young princes have a long association with Canada. In 1991, it was the location of their first international trip for nine-year-old William and Harry, seven. Their parents, Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, toured five Ontario cities on that trip.
- Queen Elizabeth II, 1957, 1977 — The Queen’s affinity for Canada is well known. She has visited the country 22 times since ascending to the throne in 1952. As Canada’s head of state, Queen Elizabeth II presided over the opening of Parliament in 1957 and 1977.
- Prince Charles and Diana, 1986 — The parents of Prince William and Prince Harry were in Vancouver to open Expo ’86, the World’s Fair. Fifteen years earlier, the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Margaret visited Montreal for Expo ’67 during Canada’s centennial.
- King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, 1939 — With the outbreak of the Second World War looming, King George and Queen Elizabeth (who would become the mother of Queen Elizabeth II) embarked on a famous Canadian tour to bolster resolve for the imminent war effort. It was the first time a reigning monarch had visited Canada. They came to Ottawa by train, rolling into the downtown Union Station, which is now slated to become the Senate’s temporary home when Parliament’s century-old Centre Block undergoes rehabilitation work.
- Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, 1860 — The Royal Family has a long connection to Canada, dating back to before the country’s creation in 1867. When the 18-year-old son of Queen Victoria visited Ottawa in 1860, he laid the cornerstone for the Parliament buildings. While the prince formally launched Parliament’s construction, his mother helped build the country by assenting to the British North America Act, which created the Dominion of Canada.