Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrived Tuesday in St. John’s, N.L., to begin a three-day Canadian tour that includes stops in Ottawa and the Northwest Territories.

The royal couple’s itinerary in Newfoundland includes a welcome ceremony at the provincial legislature with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, followed by a visit to Government House, the official residence of Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote, the Queen’s representative in the province.

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Outside the residence, they will take part in a reconciliation prayer with Indigenous leaders at the Heart Garden, which was built to honour Indigenous children who attended the province’s residential schools.

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Earlier in the day, Trudeau said reconciliation will form part of the discussions Charles and Camilla engage in during their visit. But the prime minister avoided answering when asked if he thinks the Queen should apologize for the legacy of residential schools.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as they arrive in St. John's to begin a three-day Canadian tour, Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as they arrive in St. John's to begin a three-day Canadian tour, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. — Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

“Reconciliation has been a fundamental priority for this government ever since we got elected, and there are many, many things that we all have to work on together,” he said. “But we know it’s not just about government and Indigenous people. It’s about everyone doing their part, and that’s certainly a reflection that everyone’s going to be having.”

Read more: Prince Charles, Camilla set to begin Canadian royal tour amid rising skepticism

Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron has said she intends to make a request for an apology to the prince and duchess during a reception Wednesday at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

Caron has said residential school survivors have told her an apology from the Queen is important as she is Canada’s head of state and the leader of the Anglican Church.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools when Indigenous leaders and residential school survivors visited the Vatican. He will travel to Canada to deliver the apology this summer.

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Leaders from four of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Indigenous groups were expected to attend the prayer ceremony at the lieutenant-governor’s residence in St. John’s. Elders and residential school survivors were also invited to take part in a smudging ceremony, musical performances, a land acknowledgment and a moment of silence.

Charles and Camilla will then tour Quidi Vidi, a former fishing community in the east end of St. John’s.

England first established a colony in Newfoundland in 1610, and the island remained under British rule until it joined Canada in 1949 along with Labrador and became the province of Newfoundland. A 2001 constitutional amendment gave the province its current name.

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