TORONTO — Cheers and curtsies welcomed the royal couple as they toured Toronto on the second day of their whirlwind visit to Canada, but it was Camilla who seemed to fire up the crowds waiting at each stop.
Well-wishers shouted her name at the Ontario legislature Tuesday morning, trying to catch her eye as she and Prince Charles walked among them.
They handed Camilla bouquets after bouquet and pointed her out to their children — mostly young girls, many of them waving miniature Diamond Jubilee flags.
Enthusiastic admirers dogged the duchess throughout the morning, and she lingered to chat with them, paying particular attention to infants and children.
Charles, meanwhile, seemed content to let his wife take centre stage, though he received a few flowers of his own.
The royal couple began the day together, joining Lt.-Gov. David Onley for the presentation of Diamond Jubilee medals, awarded in honour of the Queen’s 60th anniversary on the throne.
The pair then split up for separate events, with the prince heading to Ryerson University to visit its digital media zone.
Charles tested out technologies produced by students and seemed particularly impressed by a robot that said “Welcome, Your Royal Highness” and bowed.
The prince then headed to the site of the athletes village for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games, where he met with athletes and even played a quick round of badminton with Michelle Li, who won gold at the Pan Am Games last year.
He didn’t shy away from the spotlight when it came to discussing his efforts to help at-risk youth and disadvantaged families through the Prince’s Charities organization.
After listening to speakers at the Yonge Street Mission describe the organization’s positive impact, Charles said part of his philanthropic success lies in bringing together private capital and non-profits.
“You’ve heard fascinating stories, horrifying stories in many ways, about what people have had to endure in their lives and have been able to overcome them, very often in some ways with help from marvellous organizations — charities or inspiring people who have been able to encourage with new hope and inspiration,” he said.
Camilla toured the Moss Park Armoury, where she inspected an Honour Guard from the Queen’s Own Rifles, for which she is the honorary Colonel-in-Chief.
After she unveiled her portrait, Camilla told those gathered she was “deeply honoured” to be visiting the regiment in person for the first time since her appointment in 2010.
“It has been a huge pleasure for me to meet so many serving soldiers, their families, and many veterans here today,” she said. “It is quite clear that your desire to serve Canada and uphold the standards of The Queen’s Own Rifles is second to none.”
As she left the armoury, a small crowd pressed against the fence, whistling and calling her name.
The couple met up again for a reception hosted by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at the historic Distillery District, where throngs of eager supporters awaited their arrival.
Here, the crowd’s attention seemed evenly split, with camera phones aimed at both royals as they ambled down the walkway.
Beth Kates brought her three-week-old son Aaron to see the royal couple. She waited outside in the hot sun for an hour with her sleeping baby strapped to her chest and a flannel blanket to shield him from the light.
Kates, who lives nearby, said she was hoping to meet the royals and shake their hand. Aaron even “has his hand out ready,” she said.
“We just decided to come out. It’s a nice day and thought it would be fun to try to get him to meet a real prince,” she said.
“This is my little prince and we’re going to meet the big prince.”
The premier thanked Charles and Camilla for their work, saying it continues to be an example for Canadians and people around the world.
“When you visit us, we clearly see for ourselves your dedication to humanitarian causes and your unflagging service to others,” he said.
The royal couple will also visit the Fort York Armoury for an 1812 commemorative military muster.
They fly to Regina at the end of the day for the next leg of their tour that began Monday in New Brunswick.