Hopes that Prince William and Kate would be back for the 150th anniversary of Confederation soared higher than the float plane that carried the couple and their children, Charlotte and George, out of Victoria harbour at the end of their eight-day tour of British Columbia and the Yukon. It started with a press release from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, released while William and Kate were starting their final day’s worth of events:
Prime Minister announces gift to mark the Royal Tour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
OTTAWA, Oct. 1, 2016 /CNW/ – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the Government of Canada’s official gift to mark the Royal Tour of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The official gift is a donation of $100,000, which will be divided equally between two worthy initiatives.
The first $50,000 contribution will go to Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC), and will be used to promote education in Canada’s Indigenous communities and help more young people reach their full potential. It will also be used to help preserve Indigenous languages in Canada.
The second contribution of $50,000 will be given to the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia to help assist newcomers with housing, employment, and language skills.
Canada looks forward to more visits from Their Royal Highnesses, especially during the upcoming celebrations to mark our 150th anniversary of Confederation.
It was that final sentence, with the phrasing “especially during the upcoming celebrations” that captured people’s attention. It implied that William and Kate were coming back to Canada, and in time to mark “our 150th anniversary of Confederation” in 2017. Would they be on Parliament Hill on July 1? Would Charlotte and George be back as well?
Speculation swirled through social media. Then, 48 hours later, the Prime Minister’s Office officially punctured hopes. Responding to an inquiry made on Saturday, press secretary Andrée-Lyne Hallé sent an email: “We are pleased that Canada hosted the Royal Highness’s and we are always eager to have the Royal Family return and visit our country, especially with the upcoming celebrations during Canada’s 150 next year. This, however was not a formal announcement, and the original release has been updated for clarification.”
In other words, the original sentence was badly worded and no one caught the error in fact-checking. And indeed, the press release on Prime Minister’s official website has been quietly updated and that controversial section now reads: Canada looks forward to more visits from the Royal Family. We hope they will be part of the upcoming celebrations to mark our 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The new wording leaves unanswered as to who is coming, and when? In 1967, all of the senior ranks of the House of Windsor came to Canada for Centennial year, including Queen Elizabeth II (who cut the birthday cake), Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Princess Alexandra.
While tamping down rumours that William and Kate were short-turning for their third visit, the PMO still hasn’t said if any members of the royal family will take part in the 2017 celebrations. Thus generating even more speculation.