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Published: Monday, 5/21/2012

Prince Charles visits base that he once trained at on visit to Canada


GAGETOWN, New Brunswick — Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, began their first full day of their Canadian tour on Monday with a visit to a military base where he trained in 1975.

Charles drew laughter when he said he has fond memories training as a young naval helicopter pilot “in the middle of nowhere.”

The royal couple arrived Sunday evening in New Brunswick to kick off a four-day visit to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It will include stops in Toronto and Regina.

Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s titular head of state. Canada is a member of the British Commonwealth of former colonies.

Canadians were thrilled when Prince William and his wife, Kate, traveled across the country last summer on their first official trip as a married couple. The reception for Charles’ 16th visit has been far more muted.

Governor General David Johnston, the Queen’s representative in Canada, welcomed Charles “home” in an official welcoming ceremony.

Charles also noted that his two sons in the armed forces “have seemed to have become hereditary helicopter pilots.” And he said he was looking forward to talking to members of her majesty’s armed forces as he recognizes their service to Canada.

Later Monday, Charles and Camilla will attend a citizenship ceremony and a Victoria Day celebration in Saint John, New Brunswick, before departing for Toronto, where they will be treated to a Victoria Day fireworks display. Victoria Day is a national public holiday in Canada in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday.

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