Ken W asked in Society & CultureRoyalty · 9 years ago

Royal tour in North America?

I watched some video clips on Youtube pertaining to Prince William and Catherine's royal tour in North America, and it raised some questions in my mind. Hope someone can help me. Thanks!

1.) It looks like they took the Canadian forces VIP aircraft to go to Canada. Why did they not take the British Airways or British royal air force? They also took the same aircraft to go to LA. Is that the normal standard when the Royals go to Canada and any other countries afterwards (and maybe even countries before going Canada), the Canadian forces VIP aircraft is responsible for transporting them? By doing so, Canada had to send the aircraft to England first just to pick them up, and when they go back to England, the aircraft has to fly back to Canada again. That results in two wasted flying. In today's society when we emphasize on environmental friendliness (or at least I hope since I am an environmental engineer), what they did doesn't seem to be too reasonable to me. I have nothing against the royalties though, I was just purely wondering why it is being done this way.

2.) I noticed when William and Kate came out of the aircraft, they would normally nod to the soldier standing by the door, but they would completely ignore the soldier standing by the stairs on the ground. Why is that? I also noticed one interesting thing, when William and Kate arrived in Los Angeles, they warmly greeted to both soldiers standing upstairs and downstairs, they even shook their hands with those two guys. What's the rule behind this?

3.) And who are those two soldiers standing on and by the stairs saluting to the royals exactly? The guy standing downstairs in Ottawa was a RCMP officer, but the guy in Montreal didn't look like a RCMP.

4.) When William and Kate arrived in Canada, the officials who welcomed them at the airport usually just nodded or maybe made a little bow, but when they arrived in LA, those female officials who welcomed them actually curtsied. Again, what's the rule that's playing here?

Thank you in advance


Thanks Paco,

i think that was what happened this time, the jet was sent across the ocean just to pick them up, and after sending them back to England from LA, the jet flew back empty unless Canada leaves one of their Canadian forces VIP aircraft (Canadian version of Air Force One) in England permanently.

Update 2:

Thanks, Ken Adams!

But i think it has nothing to do with how much the Queen needs to spend. It's a free trip for the duke and duchess. Canada paid all the expenses. Even if they have taken British Airways or the British version of Air Force One, Canada would have covered that cost too.

Update 3:

Hello Bradley2,

I am sorry, I don't understand what you were trying to say. They took Canada's version of Air Force One here and to LA. How did you know it would have been flying somewhere else if it hadn't been on this mission. Being Canada's air force one, i don't think too many people are entitled to use it. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind them taking Canada's air force one, but I don't think Canada should have sent an empty flight across the ocean just to pick them up. That's such a waste of energy. They are Canada's guests, but that doesn't mean Canada can waste energy. Canada can pay for their airline tickets to Ottawa from London. In addition, they were no longer Canada's guests when they headed to LA. And when they were in LA, they were trying to promote trades between Britain and America not Canada.

Update 4:

Thank you, Lili.

I think that might be one of the women I saw.

Update 5:

Okay, I just read it on the internet that they didn't take the Canadian forces VIP aircraft back to London, but took a commercial flight instead. I was happy to know that. After all flying empty back to Canada from LA wasted less energy than flying empty back to Canada from England. But still I wished that they had taken a commercial flight to Ottawa from London too. That would have saved one wasted flying.

Update 6:

Hello Shawn,

Thanks for answering. I understand that the duke and duchess are no commoners. They are much more important and superior than you and me, and plus they were doing official visit per Harper's request, so I totally understand why they took the Canadian forces VIP aircraft. But what I believe is that nowadays when fighting global climate change has become one of our top missions, sending the aircraft to go across the ocean just to pick them up is a bit wasteful. There are plenty of commercial flights going in between England and Canada everyday, why couldn't Harper just send them two free airline tickets? The same thing goes to their trip to LA. They didn't go to LA on behalf of Canada, and their business in California had nothing to do with Canada, but they still took the whole aircraft to go to LA while they could have easily hop on to one of the daily commercial flights connecting Calgary to LA. Flying is the most polluting way of transportation that we have, sending an e

5 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    1) Because they were our guests, we offered them use of the aircraft. The environmental argument doesn't fly (pardon the pun), because the aircraft they used would have been flying somewhere else if it had not been flying them around.

    2) The soldier standing by the door is the pilot. They probably thanked him for the flight. The rest of the soldiers there are purely ceremonial and it is up to the royals to decide if they will greet them or not.

    3) They are whomever the event organizers assign. It could be soldiers, RCMP, local police, anybody.

    4) No clue.

    EDIT: I know it would have been doing something else, I am in the military and am involved in it's operations. It is not Canada's air force one. It is a multi-purpose aircraft used for troop transport that just happens to have a few of the seats removed for a VIP suite. It still flies missions into Afghanistan and elsewhere regularly. Military aircraft fly empty legs all the time, it's not unusual in the slightest. We offered to provide them transportation to and from Canada, that includes a trip to LA.

  • 9 years ago

    The thing to keep in mind is that the royal couple were here in their official capacity as members of the Canadian royal family representing the Canadian monarchy at the specific request of the Canadian government.

    Whenever it's official government business on behalf of Canada, the Canadian air force does the flying.

    Which is something the RCAF has been doing for the past 60 years:

    Contrast that with Prince Andrew and his daughters, the princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

    They're taking a private family vacation to go canoeing in the Northwest Territories this summer.

    No official duties to perform = They're totally on their own.

    Unless Ottawa assigns a security detail just to make sure they don't drown, get lost in the wilderness, start a forest fire, get eaten by wildlife, or whatever else.

    "Royal Prerogative" sums up the rest of what you were asking about.

    Members of the royal family decide how much or how little attention they give military or police escorts and honour guards.

    Or it's decided for them by their government-issued itinerary.

    As for how people respond to them, that's up to individuals to answer why they do or don't follow royal protocols.

    Some people don't know what the protocols are, some do but get excited and forget, etc and etc.

    Source(s): "Behind the royal tour, a businesslike Usher of the Black Rod" "Air Force continues 60 years of flying the Royal Family to Canada" "Prince Andrew heads back to his love boat..."
  • 9 years ago

    Firstly, the took that flight because it was considerably cheaper and the Queen is trying to spend as little as possible in these tough economic times.

    I don't know the solider protocol, but I do know that it is up to the individual person how they act when first meeting a royal (although everyone would bow or curtsy to the Queen), people can choose to curtsy or bow grandly, do nothing or anything in between. Americans are notoriously over-the-top (no offence to any Americans, but you have a reputation for being so), which is probably why they bowed and curtsied so grandly.

  • Paco
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    I don't know about the protocol questions, but (with the exception of the Queen) the British government does not like to pay for charter jets just to come to North America. Normally they purchase several first class seats on a scheduled aircraft for privacy. For instance the Duke of Kent, Prince Edward came to Canada in May of 2010, and charged the government £11,668 for plane tickets. I assume that buys two first class tickets. The Duke of Edinburgh came with one other person to Toronto (without the queen) and charged £12,230 for plane tickets.

    I have never heard of sending a jet across the ocean to carry a few people, and then flying back empty.

    Now once the royals are in Canada (or Australia) the host country pays for all of their expenses. It is their way of acknowledging that the royals are their royals as well. I am sure Canada paid for the flight to LA for the weekend and back to Canada.

    Prince Andrew paid £25,866 a few years ago to fly on a scheduled flight across the Atlantic into Miami. He then proceeded to pay an additional £118,440 for a smaller charter jet to fly him to all of his appointments in the USA. That bill was charged to the British government since he never set foot in Canada. Although he doesn't get much criticism for chartering a jet to take him to local places in obscure parts of Asia, a lot of people thought he could fly first class in America.

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  • Lili
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Regarding bowing and curtseying, they are optional for British and Commonwealth citizens. Evidently the Canadian officials felt no need to make a show of these things, but the British officials who greeted them in LA did. The British Consul-General in LA is female. She may have been one of the women you saw curtseying.

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