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The Royal Are Coming

The Royals are coming, Oh yes, and this time it is the great, great, great, great grandson of our namesake Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent of Halifax fame.

Prince Edward and his bride, now the Earl and Countess of Wessex are arriving in town today. There is nothing like a pretty bride to add interest to a Royal Visit and there is nothing like a Royal Visit to speed up the beautification of our city. They paved, planted and painted for the last monthe and all last night and I bet you, with just an half hour to go, everything is done.

Charlottetown looks glorious. Its Sail Week at the Yacht Club so the harbour is full of sail boats, the Musical Ride is in town and the Summer Festival at the Centre adds its usual mood of activity. CBC and all the media surround Province House just now and the air is alive with the sound of Somewhere in The World, the young peoples' show that happens daily on the seats outside the centre.

You'd all be proud to see PEI's little capital city. This event is following on an one hundred and forty year history from the day when we celebrated our first Royal Visit in 1860. Each visit has moved our cause along just like having family come in the summer - we clean and paint and do things around our places that we usually let ride.

For the 1860 visit of the Prince of Wales [later Edward the VII] "Queen, Prince, Kent and Water Streets were adorned with eight beautiful arches ... the Colonial Building and Government House were renovated." The Prince arrived on August 9th about 11 o'clock - he stayed at Government house, held a levee the next day at the Colonial Building and then took a horse back ride along Kent Street out to the Royalty and then came in the Malpeque Road. There was a ball and banquet at the Colonial Building and then he was off on the 11th.

Islanders spent the next year fighting over how many dollars had been spent in preparation. There were many memories left behind and some say other 'things' too. Although we had Prince Alfred in 1861, Prince Arthur in 1869 and Prince Louise in 1878 it was the visit of the young Prince of Wales in 1919 that left hearts fluttering.

My friend Ruth Heartz MacKenzie was a little girl who went to the Afternoon Tea Dance at the Sullivan House on Brighton Road and she and here friends went through the Reception line twice!


Okay, I'm back and everthing when well. Great military display of red jacketed men [I didn't see one woman] and a Bagpipe group with black bushy hats and good legs. Sophie had a very large black hat and Edward carried his hands behind the back of his double split jacket.

So back to other royal visits. The next visit was in 1939 when King George and Queen Elizabeth came to visit. Hon. George DeBlois was Lieut. Governor and he had Government House decorated magnificantly with hundreds of red geraniums, but alas it rained and rained. It didn't matter much tho' because hundreds lined the streets and everything was just grand anyway. I stood on the same spot today as my uncle did in 1939 with me on his shoulders!

The Duke of Kent, who was later killed in an airplane crash, visited the Airforce Training Schools on PEI in the early 40's. Then we had Princess Elzabeth and Prince Phillip visit on a cold November day in 1951.

In 1959 when the Hyndmans' were in Government House Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip visited our Island and then came again to open Confederation Centre in 1964. The Queen Mother came in 1967 and charmed everyone. '73 saw the Queen and Prince Phillip here again to celebrate our centennial and it was at that time that she opened Beaconsfield for the Heritage Foundation. It was a lovely event and former Premier Walter Jones said it was one of the nicest Royal Visit events he had ever attended. Quite a complement.

Now we've moved to the next generation. Prince Charles and Diana came in 1983, Prince Edward made his first trip in 1987, Prince Andrew and Sarah in 1989 and now we have Edward back again. Charlottetown couldn't look better. I'm going to the State Dinner tomorrow night so I'll let you know about that latter. A Royal Salute!

Written Saturday, July 15, 2000 at 04:39 PM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

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