Prince Charles arrived in Nova Scotia with his wife, Camilla, for the beginning of a four-day tour Sunday and was promptly sworn into the Queen's Privy Council of Canada by the Governor-General in a private ceremony at Government House in Halifax.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is not meeting with the Prince and Duchess of Cornwall until Wednesday in Manitoba, the last day of their trip, announced the honour in a news release Sunday night.
Privy Councillors include all past and present cabinet ministers and some opposition leaders, as well as a some distinguished Canadians who have been given the honour. It allows them to use the word "Honourable" after their name and be briefed on state secrets. The Prince's father, the Duke of Edinburgh, was made a Privy Councillor in 1957.
"His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has shown unwavering dedication to Canada throughout his lifetime, including through a number of charities and other good works. It is most fitting that he joins a select few beyond Canadian parliamentarians who are appointed as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada," the Prime Minister said in the release.
Prince Charles and Camilla met briefly with the media at a reception after the swearing-in. He apologized for making such a brief visit – but it is packed full of events. They are doing nearly 40 events – more than Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge did during their recent three-week visit to New Zealand and Australia.
This visit is planned with military precision and detail, right down to the maple-leaf pin that the Prince of Wales was wearing in his lapel to indicate that he is on Canadian soil and a member of the Canadian Royal Family.
Keeping the Royal Family relevant in Canada is one of the reasons for his regular visits to the country. This is his 17th visit to Canada – and Camilla's third but her first to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba. The couple was in Canada two years ago.
The Prince is well-versed on Canadian events: "He knows his stuff inside out," said Dr. Chris McCreery, the private secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.
The theme of the tour is "commemorating our past and celebrating our future" – and most of the events are designed to illustrate that, including meeting young people in different venues throughout the trip – a ball hockey game is planned for one visit Monday and the hope is the Prince will get mixed up in the action. Later, in the day, the two will visit English war brides and Second World War veterans.
The Prince and Duchess stayed overnight at Government House, the oldest official residence in Canada. "Even for their Royal Highnesses' requirements, there is nothing movie-staresque or outlandish," Dr. McCreery said. "They are very relaxed."