The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrive in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their three-day trip to Canada to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
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Prince Charles was urged to apologise on behalf of the royal family for the treatment of indigenous communities in Canada as he and the Duchess of Cornwall touched down in the country for a royal tour.

The couple touched down on the island of Newfoundland, the first leg on their 72-hour visit which will see them travel a staggering 9,000 miles door-to-door. 

Cassidy Caron, National Council President of the Metis people, said she intended to raise the issue personally with the heir to the throne when they meet tomorrow. 

Mary Teegee, executive director of child and family services at Carrier Sekani Family Services in the province of British Columbia, said: ‘They also have to understand that they are not the leaders in our nation,’ adding that recognition of the harms of colonisation are needed rather than just a ‘trite’ apology.

The pressure comes following two recent royal visits to the Caribbean – by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Earl and Countess of Wessex – attracted criticism for promoting ‘colonialism’ and calls for reparations over Britain’s role in the historic slave trade.

Despite the tensions, flag-waving schoolchildren and well-wishers still turned out to greet the royal couple as they began their whirlwind schedule of engagements with a welcoming ceremony in the city of St John’s.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrive in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their three-day trip to Canada to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrive in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their three-day trip to Canada to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were greeted warmly by well-wishers as they arrived in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador on their first day of their Royal Tour of Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were greeted warmly by well-wishers as they arrived in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador on their first day of their Royal Tour of Canada 

Despite the tensions, flag-waving schoolchildren and well-wishers still turned out to greet the royal couple as they began their whirlwind schedule of engagements with a welcoming ceremony in the city of St John's

Despite the tensions, flag-waving schoolchildren and well-wishers still turned out to greet the royal couple as they began their whirlwind schedule of engagements with a welcoming ceremony in the city of St John’s

The couple were welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured, as they arrived in the country for the three-day visit

The couple were welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured, as they arrived in the country for the three-day visit

The UK enjoys a warm relationship with Canada, where the Queen is head of state, and whose Platinum Jubilee Charles and Camilla’s three-day visit is designed to celebrate.

But the country has been coming to terms with the grim discovery last year of hundreds of human remains in unmarked graves at former church-run schools, institutions to which indigenous children were forcibly relocated for generations.

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded Christian boarding schools in an effort to assimilate them into Canadian society.

Thousands of children died of disease and other causes, with many never returned to their families.

The Prince of Wales is greeted as he and Camilla arrive in Canada ahead of Royal Tour to mark Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales is greeted as he and Camilla arrive in Canada ahead of Royal Tour to mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales as he leaves the plane after touching down in Canada for their three-day trip to Canada to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales as he leaves the plane after touching down in Canada for their three-day trip to Canada to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are saluted as they leave the plane in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are saluted as they leave the plane in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are warmly greeted as they arrive in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their three-day trip to Canada

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are warmly greeted as they arrive in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, for their three-day trip to Canada

The Duchess of Cornwall is saluted as she arrives with the Prince of Wales for their three-day trip to Canada

The Duchess of Cornwall is saluted as she arrives with the Prince of Wales for their three-day trip to Canada

The couple appeared in good spirits as they chatted with well-wishers in St. John's to begin a three-day Canadian tour

The couple appeared in good spirits as they chatted with well-wishers in St. John’s to begin a three-day Canadian tour

Prince Charles and Camilla leave their plane upon touching down in St. John's to begin a three-day Canadian tour

Prince Charles and Camilla leave their plane upon touching down in St. John’s to begin a three-day Canadian tour

The Canadian government has acknowledged that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the schools, with students beaten for speaking their native languages.

Notably Charles, 73, and Camilla, 74, will begin their tour by acknowledging the treatment of the schools’ victims.

They will take part in a ‘solemn moment of reflection and prayer’ in the Heart Garden in St John’s, Newfoundland, dedicated to the thousands who died or were abused in the school system.

Chris Fitzgerald, deputy private secretary to the prince for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs, said of their decision to begin the trip with an acknowledgement of the issue: ‘Heart Gardens are in memory of all indigenous children who were lost to the residential school system, in recognition of those who survived, and the families of both.’

He added: ‘Throughout the tour, Their Royal Highnesses will take the opportunity to continue to engage with indigenous communities.

Prince Charles and Camilla as they arrive ahead of their three-day tour of Canada to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee

Prince Charles and Camilla as they arrive ahead of their three-day tour of Canada to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee 

Prince Charles and Camilla descending the stairs of their plane upon arrival in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Prince Charles and Camilla descending the stairs of their plane upon arrival in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

‘Over five decades, HRH continues to learn from Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.

‘He recognises their deep ties to the land and water and the critical traditional knowledge they hold to restore harmony between people and Nature.’

But Ms Caron, who represents the Metis, a distinct indigenous people, originally the offspring of Indian women and European fur traders, believes the royal family need to go further.

She told CBC News: ‘There’s so much healing that is needed. We need basic human necessities in our communities and it stems from colonisation.

‘It stems from assimilation and some financial reparations are absolutely helpful in helping us move forward.’

She said she will raise the issue of the Queen apologising for the abuse of indigenous people in Canada’s residential schools suffered and paying reparations when she meets with the prince and duchess at a reception in Ottawa.

Prince Charles stood to attention during an official welcome to Canada, hosted in the city of St John's

Prince Charles stood to attention during an official welcome to Canada, hosted in the city of St John’s

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall shared a quiet word as they joined Governor General of Canada Mary Simon at the event

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall shared a quiet word as they joined Governor General of Canada Mary Simon at the event

Schoolchildren waving the Canadian flags turned out to greet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on their arrival

Schoolchildren waving the Canadian flags turned out to greet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on their arrival 

Charles and Camilla flew in the Canadian Government’s official Royal Canadian Air Force plane which has been renamed ‘Royals 01’ especially for the voyage. It is normally called CanForce1 when the country’s Prime Minster is on board.

Immediately after their arrival they travelled to St John’s by convoy for an official welcome ceremony at the Confederation Building attended by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and other dignitaries as well as senior representatives of the main Indigenous communities.

The Prince took a Royal Salute and inspected a guard of honour, before he and his wife watched cultural performances representing Newfoundland and Labrador’s history and traditions.

Charles is expected to speak about the Queen’s ‘profound affection she feels for Canada and its people’ in his first major speech of the tour.

The visit will also see the couple travel to Ottawa and Yellowknife, the capital city of the Northwest Territories.

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