Princess Anne gives sailboat a royal sendoff from yacht club (2024)

Bill Norrie got dressed up in hopes of a send-off from the princess as he and wife Cathy headed off on an 18-month sailing trip

Even though he was about to set off on an 18-month sailing trip, Bill Norrie dressed up in a suit on Sunday.

He was standing with his wife, Cathy, in their sailboat, which was moored at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, where Princess Anne was set to present prizes at the Spring Dinghies Regatta.

He hoped the princess would give him the honour of a royal send-off.

He got his wish.

After touring the Canadian Navy’s Osprey sail training vessel, Princess Anne and her entourage stopped for a brief chat with the couple.

Upon learning of Norrie’s plans to head off to New Zealand, the princess joked: “You’re looking too tidy for that.”

Sir Tim Laurence, Princess Anne’s husband, untied the boat from the dock, and the princess gave the 28-foot-long Pixie a push before strolling back toward land to hand out the regatta prizes.

The club’s vice-commodore, Dale Gann, said Princess Anne was interested in the club’s youth sailing program and knowledgeable about local sailing conditions.

“She was very attuned to the weather and the difficulty that was on the water for some of the young sailors today,” Gann said. “It’s so nice to walk and talk to her about the youth.”

Adair Nadeau, who gave the princess flowers while she was on the dock, was enchanted by the royal visit.

“I’ve never seen a real-life princess,” the 12-year-old said with a smile.

Earlier in the day, Princess Anne unveiled a plaque honouring her late mother, Queen Elizabeth, and saluted Canadian veterans and current Armed Forces members during separate ceremonies in Victoria.

She planted a red flowering currant tree and unveiled the plaque at Government House, where she walked around the gardens, said Patty Grant, president of the Friends of Government House Garden. “It was lovely. She is so personable and showed an interest in each and every one of the volunteers.”

Princess Anne was especially interested in the Garry oak woodlands area and took photos, said Valerie Murray, Government House’s horticultural adviser. “The camas is looking fantastic right now and we were able to talk about the unique Garry oak ecosystem.”

Murray said the princess was shown a new pathway developed in honour of her brother, King Charles.

The princess also laid a wreath during a ceremony at the B.C. legislature cenotaph to commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic, the largest and longest battle of the Second World War, during which Canada lost 24 warships and more than 4,300 Canadian forces and merchant marine members.

About 600 people attended the Battle of Atlantic ceremony, B.C. legislature security staff estimated.

Princess Anne’s royal visit started Friday in North Vancouver, where she participated in the commissioning of HMCS Max Bernays, the first Arctic patrol vessel for Canada’s Pacific fleet.

The princess, honorary commodore-in-chief of the Pacific fleet, sailed on board HMCS Max Bernays to Esquimalt. She then visited God’s Acre veterans cemetery and an urban agricultural sustainable food project.

Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said having the princess attend the Battle of the Atlantic ceremony and sail on board a patrol vessel was an honour for Canada’s navy.

“It does make it extra special for the sailors of the Canadian Pacific fleet,” he said. “She is the honorary commodore-in-chief of the Pacific fleet, and for her to have a chance to come out and meet the sailors, sail on board HMCS Max Bernays and to be here to commission [the vessel] is a big moment for us. She cares deeply about her royal duties and the sailors in the Royal Canadian Navy.”

HMCS Max Bernays is the first new ship commissioned on the West Coast for Arctic and offshore patrols based in Victoria, Topshee said.

“It’s a great new capability for Canada and it guarantees that we can ensure our Arctic sovereignty,” he said.

Princess Anne’s final visit of the day was at the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association in Central Saanich.

Forgoing a pavilion that had been set aside for her visit, the princess watched riding demonstrations from the side of the gate.

While she was there, the accomplished equestrian, who competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, chatted with members of the riding association.

The princess headed back to London on Sunday night.

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Princess Anne gives sailboat a royal sendoff from yacht club (2024)
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