King Charles III showed 'engaging' personality during 2014 P.E.I. trip, says former premier

·2 min read
Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, chat with P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz, left, and his wife, Kate Ellis, before leaving Charlottetown on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, chat with P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz, left, and his wife, Kate Ellis, before leaving Charlottetown on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The new King of England may not be as stodgy as he sometimes appears in the media.

King Charles III, who visited Prince Edward Island eight years ago when he was the Prince of Wales, was "nothing but a gentleman," said Robert Ghiz, who was P.E.I.'s premier from 2007 to 2015.

"He was someone who I was extremely impressed with, with his professionalism, with his knowledge, with his kindness," Ghiz said in an interview with CBC's Mainstreet P.E.I.

On Saturday, 73-year-old Charles III was officially proclaimed as Britain's new monarch, making his son William the new heir to the throne.

Charles's mother, Queen Elizabeth, died Thursday at age 96.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

In the spring of 2014, Charles and his wife, Camilla, made an overnight stop in Charlottetown during a four-day visit to Canada.

Ghiz served as the couple's unofficial tour guide.

As prince, Charles was sometimes perceived as lacking warmth, especially during his marriage to the charismatic late Princess Diana. But Ghiz said his experience was different.

"He's someone who is more engaging than people probably give him credit for, so I think the world will be pleasantly surprised when they actually get to see the new King in his role," said Ghiz.

Ghiz said he was impressed with the former prince's interest in P.E.I.'s economy, culture, education and history, especially with First Nations.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Ghiz said he was unsure how Charles would react when, during a visit to the Confederation Centre of the Arts, actor and comedian Wade Lynch, dressed in drag, did an impersonation of the Queen.

John Stilwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images
John Stilwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images

But the new King showed he has a sense of humour.

"He was fine with it," Ghiz said. "I was worried that he would find us insulting…. He over-exceeded my expectations."