May 21, 2014 6:56 pm
Updated: May 22, 2014 8:50 am

Chivalry takes a back seat to protocol for Prince Charles


WINNIPEG – Struggling with Manitoba winds, an umbrella and high heels, the Duchess of Cornwall could have used a hand deplaning in Winnipeg Tuesday night. Instead, her prince stuck with protocol and headed down the stairs ahead of her.

The move was royally rude, according to some people Global News spoke with.

“He loses points on being a gentleman,” said one Winnipegger.

“He’s not very chivalristic on his way down the stairs,” said another royal watcher. “He should be holding her hand.”

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According to Peter St. John, the Ninth Earl of Orkney, the British Monarchy states all royalty should be presented to the public first, which explains why Charles walked down the stairs in front of the duchess.

“That’s the reason why he came down first,” said St. John. “Because he’s the king in waiting.”

The rule is one that has become flexible over time.

“It’s observed and carried on in England,” said St. John. “But I think Canadians are fairly informal.”

Winnipeggers had lots of time to debate the issue while they were stuck in traffic. Several intersections were blocked off in the downtown core as Charles and Camilla travelled through the city in their motorcade.

“I could care less,” said one driver. “I just want to get to work.”

The first controversy of the Royals’ Canadian tour happened during Victoria Day celebrations in Prince Edward Island, when a local actor took to the stage, dressed in drag, impersonating the Queen.

These tour troubles are tiny bumps in the road compared to a 2002 visit to Winnipeg from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, when a water taxi’s engine failed with the royal couple aboard. The two were stranded on the Red River during a cool day and had to be rescued by another water taxi.

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