A royal visit is a lot like the lobster soufflé the duke and duchess of Cambridge whipped up during their 40-minute cooking class in Montreal. It’s a high risk-reward proposition: a miscue in the preparation, a sudden shock, and it flops like a spent party balloon. Ah, but done well, it is spun gold: savoury or sweet as the occasion demands, fluffy without being insubstantial.
As the nine-day visit of William and Catherine nears its close, the newlyweds have hardly set a foot wrong. They’ve enthusiastically embraced pursuits from dragon boat racing to road hockey with the same ease they’ve managed the traditional dinners, tree plantings and hospital visits. They’ve chucked out the schedule, and the strictures of protocol, to mix with those who’ve lined the route—as comfortable with the crowds as they seem with each other.
They travelled by frigate, helicopter and float plane; by motorcade, landau and dragon boat. In this, Catherine’s first visit to “the honeymoon capital of the Commonwealth,” as Governor General David Johnston put it, she’s experienced a concert by Great Big Sea, a Canada Day on Parliament Hill, and a citizenship ceremony. All Canadians should be as lucky.
Whether the frenzy of this first visit can be replicated seems unlikely. This is, after all, a honeymoon for all concerned. But the potential is there to move beyond novelty to something deeper. Perhaps, as William said of his French, “It will improve as we go on.” That’s the beauty of a soufflé, it leaves you wanting more.