CUPIDS, N.L. — Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are exploring centuries-old aspects of Newfoundland and Labrador as their Canadian visit continues.
The royal couple arrived in Cupids today, where they unveiled a plaque to celebrate the community’s 400th birthday in 2010.
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.”
Charles and Camilla arrived under a cloud cover that appeared to hover just over Conception Bay.
Rain fell off and on, and may well have thinned the sparse crowd of well-wishers who greeted them. A large Union Jack waved in the breeze.
Cupids was originally known as Cuper’s Cove and it bills itself as the oldest English settlement in Canada.
Charles also remarked that he was “struck by the rugged and imposing landscape” of the area.
Charles, who studied archeology at university, listened closely and asked many questions during a visit to an archeological dig.
Relics unearthed so far are said to date back to the site’s original plantation in 1610.
Archeologist William Gilbert showed Charles and Camilla a coin unearthed at the dig site that is 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 single digits.
At the church ceremony later, the prime minister began his remarks by recalling the earliest settlers who arrived in Cupids.
He said the area’s soaring cliffs and savage weather “demands the spirit of heroes.”
A trio including flute, harpsichord and cello then performed for the royals.
Williams also welcomed Charles and Camilla to Cupids, saying they should feel “right at home” because of the giant Union Jack that flies over the old English settlement.
The local Cantare Youth Choir and a soloist also performed for the royal couple.