Prince Charles and Camilla visit St. John’s war memorial.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – After two days of wind and rain, the sun shone on Prince Charles and Camilla Wednesday as they visited a St. John’s war memorial and mingled with onlookers, before departing Newfoundland for Toronto and the rest of their Canadian tour.

Their day began, however, with a private meeting with former federal cabinet minister John Crosbie, now the province’s lieutenant-governor, who greeted the royal couple outside his official residence in a gleaming, full-length sealskin coat.

Crosbie later told reporters he wore the coat "to make a statement" to the royals about the importance of the seal hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador, despite the controversy it generates in parts of Europe.

"I think they rather liked the coat," Crosbie said. "They took it in their stride. I don’t think they were upset by it."

The royal couple then attended their final public event in Newfoundland: a short service of remembrance at what residents here call their "national" war memorial in downtown St. John’s.

Built into a hill overlooking the city’s sun-splashed harbour, Charles laid a wreath at the monument and then, with Camilla, walked past their security guards into the waiting crowd of about 500 people.

St. John’s resident Brian Flynn was there, holding a large, black-and-white photograph of his father, a First World War veteran of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The photograph showed him and other veterans meeting Prince Charles’ grandparents – King George VI and the Queen Mother – during their historic visit to Canada and Newfoundland in 1939.

For several minutes Charles studied the picture and reminisced with Flynn about their common connection.

"He told me his grandmother had often reflected upon that visit here in 1939," Flynn said afterwards. "He was very interested in the photo. I think he’s more interested in speaking to the ordinary people than the politicians. That’s my impression you know."

Judy Facey was one of dozens who managed to shake hands with Camilla.

"Her glove was just like a cloud," Facey said afterwards. "And her hand was so tiny. She seemed happy to be with us. I think it’s just wonderful they came to spend time here in Newfoundland."


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