Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Duke and Duchess greet war vets and brides

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, accompanied by her husband Prince William, shakes hands with Royal Canadian Navy veteran Lieutenant Kenneth Mathewson-Porter during a visit to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.


Alice Campbell is a war bride, who arrived in Halifax from England in 1945. Her first question to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, upon meeting her Saturday, was: "Are you tired?"

Mrs. Campbell is 95.

"Not at all," replied the 29-year-old Duchess, adding that she was "thrilled to be here."

Story continues below advertisement

By "here," Catherine was referring to Ottawa and Canada. But on this warm Saturday afternoon, she and her husband, Prince William, were at the Canadian War Museum, their final stop in Ottawa.

The royal couple had wanted to meet with veterans and war brides on their tour of Canada, their first official trip since getting married in April.

And they certainly made the most of it. After a brief tour of the museum, the royal couple spent almost an hour chatting and questioning the group of veterans from the Second World War, Korea and Afghanistan, as well as the war brides.

While Catherine - who wore a grey Catherine Walker dress and matching reptile pumps - is very chatty, she is also a good listener and a good sport. One woman at the reception even asked to see her diamond and sapphire engagement ring, which had belonged to Prince William's mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Among those Catherine also spoke to was Florence Loop, a former Londoner and war bride who came to Canada in 1946.

Her husband, Harry, 86, was at the reception, too. He served in the Second World War, arriving in Normandy just after D-Day.

His wife had to seek special permission to be released from hospital to attend the event. Mr. Loop picked her up at 7 a.m. Saturday, and had to have her back in hospital by 3 p.m.

Story continues below advertisement

Mrs. Loop suffers from a heart condition, and joked that several of her doctors asked if she needed medical attention at the event - they also wanted to meet the Duke and Duchess.

For her, it was well worth the trip.

After speaking with the guests, Prince William and Catherine helped to unveil an unfinished military mural by British artist Augustus John.

Mark O'Neill, director of the Canadian Museum Civilization Corp., explained that the mural was a recent acquisition, which was originally commissioned by Lord Beaverbrook. Hehad wanted it to be the centrepiece for a war memorial art gallery in Canada that was never built, said Mr. O'Neill.

After it was unveiled, Mr. O'Neill noted that it had been in a music salon in London, and pointed out that a door had been cut into it.

The Prince got a kick out of that, pointing to the doorway and smiling.

Story continues below advertisement

After a short walkabout outside the museum, where a few hundred people had gathered, the couple left for the airport and Montreal. They were running late.

This is the third day of their nine-day cross-Canada visit.

On Friday, the young royals helped celebrate Canada Day on Parliament Hill. They ended the day watching fireworks from the ninth floor of the Lester B. Pearson Building, which houses the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to