Among Atlantic Canadians, hope for a King who is 'really involved,' reaches youth

·3 min read

HALIFAX — As she sat with her nine-year-old daughter at a coronation viewing Saturday, Mandy Chapman said she's hoping for a King who reaches out widely when he next comes to the East Coast.

"It's different, I've only ever known the Queen. That's all we've ever known in our lifetime … It's going to be an adjustment for sure," said the 49-year-old Halifax resident, who was among the winners of a lottery to attend a breakfast at the Nova Scotia lieutenant-governor's residence.

Chapman brought along her daughter Bella to enjoy the historic occasion in the ornate ballroom. The pair beamed as they enjoyed tea, scones and sweets at a table decorated with flowers.

Still, amid the pomp and ceremony, Chapman — who works for an agency that provides fruits and vegetables to those struggling for food access — said she hoped the new King will carry on his mother's legacy of charity work.

"They should be the King and Queen of the people," she said. "They shouldn't just be figureheads, but be really involved in what people are doing here in Canada."

A few tables away, wearing a pink fascinator that shone under the chandelier, 20-year-old Noelle Lavoie said she believes King Charles needs to be particularly attentive to connecting with young people when he visits Atlantic Canada.

The Halifax resident said she's interested to see how the King uses social media to reach out to her generation.

"I don't think anybody my age has discussed this much. It's more my mom and her friends, rather than people my age," she said. "Even at events you see them attend, it's mostly an older generation.

"I think he needs to find a way to include young people in the events he does."

Around the Atlantic region, provinces long known as friendly toward the monarchy also held celebratory events.

A parade wound its way through Charlottetown from the local armoury to Government House, where Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry presided over a public ceremony, and a 21-gun salute was fired from Fort Edward in Victoria Park.

The residence of the lieutenant-governor was also illuminated in emerald green to mark the occasion.

The King first visited Prince Edward Island as Prince of Wales in 1983 and travelled to the Island again in 2014 with his wife, Camilla.

In an email Saturday, P.E.I Premier Dennis King said, "it’s the first time our constitutional monarchy will recognize a new sovereign in 70 years, and it is both a historic and significant moment in our history."

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the coronation ceremony included a tree-planting, in keeping with the King's focus on environmental issues. About 1,000 seedlings from the provincial tree nursery were handed out to the public to plant, with plans for further distribution across the province.

Artillery guns were also fired in St. John's, N.L., at 11 a.m. local time. The military noted the sound would be loud but not "loud enough to disturb local residents."

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said in a statement Saturday that his province has had a long and rich history with the monarchy.

"We have had the pleasure of welcoming many members of the Royal Family to our province. We look forward to continuing this tradition," Higgs said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2023.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press