Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, leave the HMCS Montreal as they arrive in Quebec City. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)
Prince William and Kate faced more protests by
French-speaking separatists yesterday after arriving in
Quebec City on a Canadian navy frigate that sailed down the
picturesque St Lawrence Seaway.
The newlyweds are on the fourth day of a nine-day trip to
Canada in what is their first official overseas trip since
their April 29 wedding.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge encountered small but vocal
protests in Montreal, the French-speaking province's biggest
city, on Saturday after being cheered by tens of thousands
the previous day in Canada's largely English-speaking
Prince William and Kate sang hymns as they took part in a
bilingual interfaith prayer service on the deck of the HMCS
Montreal which docked in Quebec City after an overnight trip
from Montreal. They then headed ashore for a meeting with
residents of La Maison Dauphine, a centre that helps homeless
Police were out in force in downtown Quebec City. More than
150 protesters, some wearing black and waving flags,
demonstrated about two blocks from City Hall, where Prince
William was due to speak.
A far larger crowd of supporters, chanting "Will and Kate"
were allowed closer to City Hall and greeted the royal
motorcade with loud cheers when it arrived.
The protesters chanted "RRQ", the initials of the
anti-monarchist, separatist group, Reseau de Resistance du
Quebecois, or Quebecker Resistance Network, which organised
the protests in Montreal and Quebec City.
Police set up barriers to keep the protesters away from City
Hall, but the demonstrators brought a pickup truck with audio
equipment and speakers so their chants could be heard. They
carried signs reading "Pay your own way" and "The monarchy,
The visit touches a sensitive nerve among French-speaking
separatists because Prince William and Kate later on Sunday
afternoon were to visit the Citadelle, a fortified residence
at the foot of the Plains of Abraham, the site of the pivotal
1759 battle in which British forces defeated the French to
seal the conquest of New France.
Vocal yet vastly outnumbered protesters failed to cause any
disruption to the royal couple's events in Montreal on
Saturday, other than aggravating some of the pair's
About 35 protesters, including members of the Quebecker
Resistance Network, stood outside Sainte-Justine University
Hospital Centre in Montreal. They were outnumbered about 10
to one by William and Kate supporters gathered outside the
children's hospital where the newlyweds visited cancer
patients and the hospital's neonatal care facility.
The protesters were drumming and booing as the royal couple's
motorcade pulled up to the hospital. William was whisked into
the hospital as Kate stepped out of the car and smiled at the
crowd before going in.
The demonstrations were a rare moment of criticism aimed at
the young royals, who have for the most part been welcomed
with open arms by Canadians eager to see the glamorous
After leaving the hospital, the royal couple headed to the
Institut de Tourisme et D'Hotellerie du Quebec, where they
were met again by a handful of protesters dominated by about
Once inside, Kate and William donned aprons and took part in
a cooking workshop at the facility, which is a government
agency that conducts training and research in the hotel,
tourism and food service industries.
Wearing white cooking jackets, the pair got into the pots and
pans to whip up some authentic Quebec fare, including
Charlevoix lamb and a lobster souffle. The couple also dined
with Quebec Premier Jean Charest and his wife Michele.
A 2009 visit by Prince William's father, Prince Charles, to
Montreal was disrupted by more than 200 separatist
protesters. The protesters sat in the street, blocking the
prince's way into a ceremony planned at an armory, and threw
eggs at the soldiers who were accompanying him and his wife,
the Duchess of Cornwall. The couple were forced to enter the
building through a back door and missed an elaborate
welcoming ceremony that had been planned.
In 1990, Canada Day celebrations were disrupted briefly by
protesters from Quebec who booed and turned their back on
Protesters were angry that Canada still has ties to the
monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is still the country's
figurative head of state and new Canadian citizens still
pledge allegiance to the Queen during their swearing-in
ceremony. Others said they were angry that taxpayer money is
being used to pay for the royal tour.
However, support for the separatists among Quebeckers has
been on the decline in recent years as the 80 percent
French-speaking province has enjoyed plenty of autonomy even
without quitting Canada.
"As far as I'm concerned they're welcome here anytime. These
young people need a chance. If their ancestors messed up,
they need a chance to be forgiven," said John Harbour, 58, a
French-Canadian master mariner, who was among dozens of
onlookers hoping for a glimpse of the royal couple at the
Quebec City waterfront.
The royal couple leave Canada for a three-day trip to
California on July 8.