Eribert Loehner, in Vancouver, writes about the Royal Family and the impact Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are already having on the local population, including two seal pups.
In fact, locals have already renamed the two Harbour Seal pups, rescued between Vancouver Island and the mainland, as Prince Herring and Meghan Mackerel.
But to start at the beginning: Eribert says: ‘I was born a German citizen, but have lived in Canada since I was two years old.
My parents never became Canadian citizens, but spent the rest of their lives in Canada.
For them, Canada was on the opposite side during World War Two and they held a deep distrust of all things Canadian.
However, I consider Canada my ‘home and native land’ as our national anthem suggests, even though the statement is only half true.
Naturalised and walking on air
I became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1977. I left the naturalization service clutching my citizenship certificate feeling I could walk on air. I now belonged to Canada.
Along with becoming Canadian, I had to renounce my German citizenship and pledge allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen.
My parents had an acute dislike for the British monarchy. They felt they unjustly lived a life of privilege at the expense of their people. I never did feel that way.
I did not expect Her Majesty to drive around London in a clapped-out Austin Mini to pick up a few cans of beans and some pork chops at the local supermarket. Her Majesty was Queen Elizabeth II; she was Canada’s Head of State.
Later her son, grandson — and even later her great grandson — will also become our Head of State. The family, and those who marry into it, command a certain degree of respect.
Loyal but more distant
Loyal as we might be, Canadians have never had the same fascination with the Royal Family that the people of England have. Our distance from the UK might have something to do with this.
We do not have tabloid newspapers with a voracious appetite for anything royal to make a fast buck, or quid as the case may be.
Most Canadians feel that the private lives of the Royals are just that, private! I would certainly never spend my money on a newspaper to see a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge in a bikini.
Imminent arrival ‘a great surprise’
It was with great surprise that we found that Prince Harry and Meghan have decided to bolt from the chaffing constraints of royal life to live part of their lives on Vancouver Island.
The island is just off our west coast, close to the City of Vancouver, where I live.
The capital of the Province of British Columbia, the City of Victoria, is at the southern tip of the island. The west coast of Vancouver Island is stunningly picturesque and remote.
The people on the island are very hospitable and respectful. It certainly is not a bad choice.
Harry has always been a bit of a regal loose cannon. Never disloyal or uncaring for his subjects, but never afraid to shake things up. This might not be such a bad thing.
The times they are a-changing
The history of the royal family is littered with family members who have paid the price for their individuality. Times are changing.
Prince William married a commoner and I think everyone is impressed with how well this has worked out. It is not surprising that Harry also married a commoner, an American no less.
While it is understandable that Her Majesty would prefer to have her grandson close by, the mere fact that there are negotiations with the royal household over how all this is to take place shows they are open to change. This is to be admired.
Harry is sixth in line to the throne and it is unlikely he will ever be our head of state. His desire to lead his own life with his wife, and not be dependent on taxpayers, is something that even my parents would have respected.
Locals celebrate with a naming ceremony
The perspective of the locals towards the royals will require an adjustment by the Royal Family, loyal British subjects everywhere and even Harry and Meghan themselves.
The adjustment started with the Vancouver Aquarium rescuing the pair of emaciated Harbour Seal pups ( mentioned in the intro) on the islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland last year. To identify them during their recuperation they were named Prince Herring and Meghan Mackerel.
Welcome to Canada’s west coast, Harry and Meghan.