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SAINT JOHN'S, NF - NOVEMBER 3: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper (behind) during a visit to the Cupids Cove Plantation Archaeological site as part of their visit to Canada on November 3, 2009 in Cupids Cove, Saint John's, Newfoundland, Canada. (Photo by Steve Parsons-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images

The sharp breeze off the water lifted an enormous Union Jack as Prince Charles came to the birthplace of the English presence in Canada.

Then called Cupperes Cove, the site was settled in 1610, the graveyard started that winter. Remnants of that settlement were rediscovered in the 1990s and Charles and his wife Camilla toured the dig this morning.

A crowd of about 75 was waiting as they pulled up in a town car whose licence plate was a red field with a gold crown. The spectators burst into applause as the royals emerged, Charles clad in a camel topcoat and Camilla wearing a green coat with matching hat and knee-high boots.

Archaeologist William Gilbert showed the pair a coin unearthed at the dig site that's believed to date back to the 1600s. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his wife Laureen and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams also looked on.

The group shivered against a cold wind as the temperature hovered in the single digits. Camilla adjusted her wrap for warmth as Mr. Gilbert joked that to show off all the best finds would take too much time. "Maybe by then it will be spring," quipped a shivering Ms. Harper. "It will get a lot warmer."

Prince Charles spoke of the "stoic" early settlers of the area in an address to those attending the unveiling ceremony in a church. "They came with their own vision of a new life ... something new for themselves and their children," he said. "They all came with a purpose, a dream to create something new ... to contribute to the great and vibrant tapestry which is the Canada of today."

He also remarked that he was "struck by the rugged and imposing landscape" of the area.

Prince Charles, who studied archeology at university, listened closely and asked many questions during a visit to an archeological dig.

The royal couple also posed gamely by the church in nearby Brigus, on a windy peak next to the gusty bay.

A few score residents of the small town - once a fishing and sealing hub but now a ghost of its former self - came out for what turned into an intimate walkabout.

"We've been here for about 2 1/2 hours waiting," said Genevieve Hughes. "I'm a little cold but definitely worth it."

She and her husband Vivian were waiting outside an historic cottage in Brigus, brandishing a Welsh flag that caught the Prince's eye.

"His comment was 'I don't remember any of my Welsh'," said Mr. Hughes.

With files from Canadian Press