Prince Charles talks about “coming to terms with the darker aspects of the past” on Canada visit

Prince Charles has spoken out about the need to come to terms with the “darkest aspects of the past” on a visit to Canada amid calls for apologies for the treatment of indigenous school children in the country.

The Prince of Wales said he had heard of the “ongoing commitment to healing and understanding” taking place in the nation as it grapples with the scandal.

Hundreds of unmarked graves were found in Canada last year in former schools for indigenous children, who would be separated from their families and sent to these state-funded Christian institutions.

Many were abused and thousands are believed to have died in these schools from the 19th century to the 1970s.

The Prince of Wales has faced calls to apologize for his treatment during his visit to Canada, where the Queen is head of state, this week.

After a formal welcome on the East Coast, Prince Charles spoke about how the country was trying to come to terms with the scandal as he addressed dignitaries at the Confederation Building.

The Prince of Wales inspects the honor guard before an official welcoming ceremony at the Confederation Building in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador (Jacob King/PA)

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“As we look to our collective future, as people who share a planet, we must find new ways to come to terms with the darkest and most difficult aspects of the past: acknowledge, reconcile and strive to make it better. It is a process that begins with listening,” she said.

“I very much appreciated the opportunity to discuss with the Governor General the vital process of reconciliation in this country, not a one-time act, of course, but an ongoing commitment to healing, respect and understanding.

Prince Charles added: “I know that our visit here this week comes at an important time: Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples across Canada are committing to reflect honestly and openly on the past and to forge a new relationship for the future.”

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, has said that reconciliation with indigenous peoples will be part of the discussions that Charles and Camilla will engage in during their visit.

But the prime minister avoided answering when asked if he thinks the queen should apologize for the legacy of residential schools.

Charles and Camilla’s three-day Platinum Jubilee tour will kick off in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and will see the couple travel to Ottawa and Yellowknife, the capital city of the Northwest Territories.

The Duchess of Cornwall arrives at St John’s (Jacob King/PA)

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The Archbishop of Canterbury recently visited Canada and apologized for the “terrible crime” of the Anglican Church’s involvement in Canada’s residential schools and for the “grave sins” of the Church of England against Canada’s indigenous peoples.

Pope Francis plans to visit Canada this summer to apologize for the abuses indigenous people suffer at the hands of the Catholic Church.

Additional Press Association Reports

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