WATCH: A royal visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, is one of the highest-security events in Victoria’s history. April Lawrence reports.
It was 2002 when thousands packed the lawns of the B.C. Legislature to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II.
And we can expect a similar scene when Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, come to town Saturday.
“Certainly in the range 5000 or so visitors we’re anticipating, it’s hard to predict, it’s a unique event in a lot of ways,” said Deputy Clerk with the B.C. Legislative Assembly Kate Ryan-Lloyd.
With thousands of people, a high-profile royal couple, and other top level dignitaries, security will be tight.
“It’s a very significant undertaking and we’re very appreciative to our federal and provincial security partners, we have an integrated plan to support the event,” said Ryan-Lloyd.
Protection for the royal family starts with a special Metropolitan Police force known as SO14.
“They’re highly trained in all sorts of things from firearms to intelligence,” said Ken Christie, human security professor from Royal Roads University.
And Christie says the security level for the family has increased dramatically, not because of terrorist attacks like this weekend’s bombing in New York City, but because of a political decision made in 2015.
“Last year the British Parliament passed increasing air strikes against Syria and of course that means the security review of the royal family in any capacity has to be stepped up,” Christie said.
Christie says SO14 will work with Canadian intelligence agencies, the RCMP and Victoria Police during the royal family’s visit to Victoria.
But don’t expect to line a route welcoming William, Kate, George and Charlotte into town like you might have with the Queen 14 years ago.
“The routes will not be publicized, they will use more discreet vehicles than perhaps high profile kinds of vehicles where you would think members of the royal family would travel in,” said Christie.
But experts say there is little likelihood of terrorist activity here.
“I think it would be very difficult for a terrorist to stage some kind of devastating attack against them,” said Christie.
As for what kind of security we can expect to see when the royals appear in public, local police agencies are, for obvious reasons, keeping quiet on details.
The public welcome for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge takes place Saturday, September 24, at 5:00 p.m.