Prince Charles, Camilla visit Ukrainian church in Ottawa on second day of royal tour

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, lit candles and listened to a prayer service on Wednesday inside a gilded Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral in Ottawa, while congregants and onlookers waved blue-and-yellow flags and Union Jacks outside.

The royals visited the church as a gesture of their support for the war-ravaged country on the second day of their Platinum Jubilee tour of Canada. A priest told the couple the community sincerely appreciates the support of the Royal Family.

"Your country is truly a friend of Ukraine, having extended a helping hand, not only militarily but also as fellow citizens of our planet. We will never, never forget that," said Father Ihor Kutash.

The prince and Camilla arrived in Canada on Tuesday, spending the day in Newfoundland and Labrador before flying to the national capital in the evening. Their busy day in Ottawa on Wednesday included stops at the National War Memorial and the famed ByWard Market.

Outside the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, the crowd chanted "Slava Ukraini," which means glory to Ukraine. Among those gathered was Iryna Bloshenko, who arrived in Canada from Dnipro in the besieged country just four weeks ago.

"I am very happy, very excited to see the royals," she said, waving a Ukrainian flag. "We appreciate the royals' support for Ukraine."

Ruslan Rovishen, a Ukrainian who lives in Ottawa, echoed that message.

"We appreciate the royals are coming and we are praying with them for peace in Ukraine," he said. "It has been my dream since childhood to see the British Royal Family. I am excited they are here."

Retired math teacher Graham Corke, who moved to Canada from England 50 years ago, said he has seen the royals in Canada three or four times before, but this time was there to support Ukraine.

"I think it is very important the royals are supporting the Ukrainian people," said Corke.

After attending the prayer service, the royal couple met with a Ukrainian family who fled the Russian invasion.

Crowds have grown throughout the day, and by early afternoon the couple was swarmed by a large crowd of well-wishers and royal watchers at Ottawa's ByWard Market.

Kiki Malia said he had goosebumps in anticipation of meeting Prince Charles. He and his companions were planning to have lunch in the market when they heard the prince and the duchess were on their way.

They picked up some flowers from the local flower stand to offer to the couple.

"It's a thrill," Malia said.

Prince Charles and Camilla made their way through the market to the Beaver Tails stand, where Mayor Jim Watson and the local city councillor Mathieu Fleury said they recommended the "Killaloe Sunrise" flavour.

After visiting some vendors in the ByWard Market, Charles and Camilla are making their way through the crowd to say hello to those who came out on relatively short notice once it was announced they’d be coming to this iconic tourist area in the city. Cellphones aplenty. #ottcity

— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) May 18, 2022

Robert Charles Hupe, who owns the local maple syrup shack in the market, said he found out last week he'd be getting a chance to introduce his wares to the royals.

His mother named him after the prince, he said, and he's been looking forward to meeting his namesake.

"They're a living fairy tale really," Hupe said ahead of the royals' stop in the market.

He planned to highlight his maple butter, although royal etiquette dictates he can't offer to send them home with some unless they ask.

Earlier Wednesday, Prince Charles was invested as an extraordinary commander in the Order of Military Merit, which is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

"He has been there for our troops at those most important times," said Ian McCowan, the secretary to the Governor General, who was acting as the master of ceremonies.

"During the Afghanistan campaign, visiting troops on the ground, writing to wounded soldiers, offering support to the families of the fallen, sharing our country's pride and gratitude for service."

The order recognizes conspicuous merit and exceptional service by active members of the Canadian Armed Forces. The prince has accepted nine honorary appointments and three honorary ranks in the Canadian Armed Forces.

After placing the wreath and bouquet the royal couple are escorted to the guest book table for signing. This is the last portion of this event, will soon be off to the motorcade to head to the service at the Ukrainian cathedral. #cdnpoli #ottnews

— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) May 18, 2022

The couple then left the award ceremony at Rideau Hall to travel to the National War Memorial, where a modest crowd awaited them.

But Cecile Dumont wasn't taking any chances and got there at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

"I wanted to get the best spot. I'm a real royalist, their No. 1 fan," she said. "It's history in the making, the future king is here in Ottawa."

For the 2011 royal visit from Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Dumont camped overnight on Parliament Hill with a crowd of other royal fans to get a good vantage point. She was surprised she was the only one at the war memorial at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The onlookers cheered and clapped as the couple's car arrived at the memorial. They observed a minute of silence, before laying a wreath and a bouquet of flowers in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Following the ceremony, Prince Charles and Camilla took several minutes to greet people in the crowd, one of whom handed Camilla a bunch of orange tulips. The royals, heavily guarded by security, shook hands and spoke to people before getting in a car.

Later Wednesday, they are scheduled to visit a local school before speaking with female Afghan refugees and meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Prince Charles and Camilla's final event of the day is a Platinum Jubilee reception at Rideau Hall.

Metis National Council President Cassidy Caron has said she intends to use that occasion to make a request for an apology from the Queen for the legacy of residential schools.

The Royals will soon be heading to the RCMP stables to watch a special performance of the Musical Ride. About 1,000 people, mostly first responders, CAF/RCMP Members & their families, have gathered. Right now they’re watching a performance by the RCMP Pipe, Drums and Dancers.

— Annie Bergeron-Oliver (@AnnieClaireBO) May 18, 2022

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2022.