A royal visit: Princess Anne arrives in Victoria

A royal visit: Princess Anne arrives in Victoria
Princess Anne is pictured at God’s Acre Veteran’s Cemetery in Esquimalt on May 4, 2024.

The Princess Royal, also known as Princess Anne, arrived in Victoria on Saturday morning as part of her three-day visit to Canada.

She first arrived in Vancouver on May 3 to help with the commissioning ceremony of HMCS Max Bernays, the Royal Canadian Navy’s first Arctic patrol vessel to be added to Canada’s Pacific Fleet.

“It’s a huge honour to be welcomed into the fleet by Her Royal Highness,” said Commander Collin Forsberg on Friday. “It really hits home for the history of our ship.”

Princess Anne sailed into Canadian Forces Bases Esquimalt at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday aboard HMCS Max Bernays.

“It’s quite exciting to be a part of it all,” said Gisele Bechard who was waiting by Fort Rodd Hill.

Dozens stood by with cameras ready to capture a glimpse of the princess as she was welcomed in with a 21-gun salute.

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HMCS Max Bernays sails into CFB Esquimalt with smoke trailing up from a 21-gun salute in the background. (CHEK News)

She arrived with her husband, Tim Laurence, and the pair will visit a range of locations across Greater Victoria, including the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association, the FED Urban Agriculture farm, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and the Maritime Museum of B.C., which was founded by the princess’ late father, Prince Phillip.

The princess last visited Vancouver Island in 1971 when she officially opened Pacific Rim National Park.

On Saturday afternoon, she laid a wreath at the God’s Acre Veterans Cemetery in Esquimalt.

More than 2,500 military personnel and family members are buried at God’s Acre Veterans Cemetery, which is a national historic site that dates back to 1868.

“It’s great that she’s here. I don’t think Victoria’s particularly targeted other than the navy base, so we’re lucky to have her,” said Bruce Hallsor, spokesperson for the Monarchist League of Canada.

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Princess Anne lays a wreath at God’s Acre Veteran’s Cemetery on May 4, 2024.

Her final stop was at the FED Urban Agriculture farm, where she learned about sustainable food practices.

“We were just gobsmacked. It’s not something that we thought would happen so fast, we only got the farm in March.  So to have her take such an interest in sustainable agriculture and food systems, especially on such a small little patch of land is really exciting for us,” said Emily Shields, Communications and Marketing Manager at FED Urban Agriculture.

Princess Anne will also participate in a commemorative service marking the Battle of the Atlantic at the B.C. legislature on Sunday, and meet with B.C. Lt. Governor Jane Austin, among other community leaders.

The Princess Royal was appointed Honorary Commodore-in-Chief, Canadian Fleet Pacific, in 2015. She is the only daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

With files from CHEK’s Oli Herrera, Harry Corro and Tchadas Leo, and The Canadian Press

SEE ALSO: Princess Anne to spend most of her Canadian visit on Vancouver Island

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