© The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson
Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla sit with Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Carolyn Bertram at Province House in Charlottetown, P.E.I. on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.
Prince Charles and Camilla shared some laughs at the provincial legislature in Prince Edward Island this morning.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess visited Province House this morning, where a session of youth parliament was in mid-debate.
They sat at the table in the middle of the chamber and listened as P.E.I. high school students presented their ideas about why political involvement is important.
Charles and Camilla listened intently to the statements and debates.
At one point, Opposition members began to call "shame," in response to declarations being made by a government member, eliciting laughter from the royal couple.
The couple even joined in with the youth in tapping on the table in front of them to applaud notable statements.
The youth taking part in the session have been acting as pages in the P.E.I. legislature for the last year.
P.E.I. House Speaker Carolyn Bertram led question period, at one point asking one of the students if a political career would interest him.
“Currently I’m not interested in a political career,” he responded. The room erupted in laughter.
Charles then asked the teens whether the page program has been helpful in understanding the how government works and whether it may have turned them off to the idea of getting involved in politics.
Jessica O’Hanley, who portrayed the role of Opposition leader, was one of the two students answered Charles’ question. She said afterward this was the highlight of her experience today.
“I wasn’t really expecting it, so I’m glad it went well,” O’Hanley said.
She told the Prince her time in the program has indeed helped to fuel her own political ambitions.
“I’ve always been in interested in politics since I was a little kid, but through this today and my through my involvement in politics pretty much in my everyday life, I’ve learned lots of skills that will hopefully help me in the future.”
She said she especially enjoyed just watching Charles and Camilla chuckle at the proceedings and at some of their comments.
“They’re real people. They laugh at our jokes and they shake your hand, so they’re not quite as scary as I thought they were going to be,” O’Hanley said.
“They’re just ordinary people.”
Jordan MacDonald took on the role of premier.
He too said watching the royal couple interact and react to their session helped him to see a more personal side of Charles and Camilla.
“You see these people on TV all the time and someday they’re going to be on your money, so it’s like, ‘Wow, I actually got to shake your hand and say hello,’” he said.
“It was a really personable way to make things more real-feeling.”
After shaking hands with the students, the Prince and Duchess were led to the legislative library, where they were presented with a print of a painting of the ball that took place in the same building during the Charlottetown Conference in 1864.
They then were given a tour of the historic legislative chamber, where the Fathers of Confederation met 150 years ago, laying the foundation of what would one day become the formation of Canada.
Charles and Camilla signed a guest book, then were led back outside to meet with a large crowd of people gathered outside.
They went on a short walkabout, shaking hands with some of those in the crowd, and then went into the Confederation Centre.
There, Prince Charles was presented with the Symons medal and delivered a brief address.
He spoke about the importance of engaging youth and inspiring them to become involved in helping to tackle some of the country’s most challenging issues.
“There is so much creativity, determination and conviction amongst young people just waiting to be tapped, and it is this kind of what you might call social capital that I have, in my own way, sought to release so it can be put to good use.”