The Duchess of Edinburgh began an official visit to Canada over the weekend, focusing largely on military-related events on the first two days of her visit.
The Duchess arrived in Ontario on Friday to carry out engagements over a five-day period related to the military and medical fields. Her visit will see her carry out engagements on behalf of her Canadian military appointments and patronages, including as Colonel-in-Chief of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment.
Later this week, Sophie will carry out engagements on behalf of her patronages with the University Health Network (which consists of Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals, and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre – the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute).
Over the weekend, Sophie joined the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, which is based in Niagra, for the Countess of Wessex Cup, a military competition named in Sophie’s honour that sees “navigation, observation, open water rescue, and obstacle courses” as part of physical and mental challenges for the regiments that count the Duchess as their Colonel-in-Chief.
As the 2022 winner was the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, this year’s competition was held at their home base. The Regiment is a reservist army regiment that supports Ontario’s 4th Canadian Division in the Canadian Army.
In an interview with the local newspaper, the St. Catharines Standard, the Regiment’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Dyson, said, “We’re very proud to host the Duchess Cup, and we’re very proud that Her Royal Highness has returned to Canada to be a part of it.”
Eight teams competed, including one other from Canada, the South Alberta Light Horse Unit.
On Saturday evening, the Duchess of Edinburgh attended a formal dinner in support of the Lincoln & Welland Regimental Foundation at the Queen’s Landing Hotel.
On Sunday, the royal attended a Remembrance Day service at St Catharines Cenotaph with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, and the Lincoln and Welland Regiment.
In an interview with the St Catharines Standard, Major Conrad Flatman, the Deputy Commanding Officer of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, said that having Sophie attend the Remembrance Day Service was “an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience for our soldiers.”
Major Flatman added: “It’s something we really look forward to. It’s a time of celebration, a time of great camaraderie, because she brought with her several units from the United Kingdom, so, it’s a great time for… rekindling those friendships we have from prior visits.”
Next week, Sophie will spend Monday through Wednesday visiting hospitals: Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto Rehab, on behalf of her patronage, the University Health Network, to learn more about the medical intervention and innovation taking place in Toronto hospitals.