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Princess Anne visits Victoria, tours urban farm, lays wreath at veterans cemetery

Among those greeting the princess, a woman who chatted with her on a Victoria visit 53 years ago. Princess Anne is to attend a commemorative service today at the B.C. legislature marking the Battle of the Atlantic, beginning at 10:25 a.m.

Louise Marreiros had a royal reunion Saturday that was 53 years in the making.

The Victoria woman was in Victoria West Saturday afternoon to watch Princess Anne’s visit to the FED Urban Agriculture project, where the princess learned about local sustainable food practices.

“I feel like I’m beaming. I feel very happy to have seen her,” Marreiros said.

Marreiros last saw the princess in 1971 when the Royal Family visited Victoria. During that visit, Marreiros climbed a street light downtown to capture a photo of the royals in a convertible. As the car pulled away, Prince Philip pointed up at Marreiros. She caught the moment in her photo.

Later that day, Marreiros returned, hoping to catch a glimpse of Princess Anne as she returned from a trip to Tofino.

When the princess arrived, she turned to Marreiros and asked, “Are you still here?”

Marreiros laughed and the two talked for a few minutes, before Princess Anne asked another question that stumped Marreiros.

“Why do you come and see us?” she asked.

“I couldn’t answer her. I said I’ll have to tell you another time,” Marreiros said.

Marreiros almost got that chance on Saturday. As Princess Anne’s motorcade pulled away from FED Urban Agriculture, Marreiros waved.

The window rolled down and ­Princess Anne poked her head out, smiling and waving back at Marreiros.

The interaction left Marreiros feeling like she was walking on air, she said.

Princess Anne, the younger sister of King Charles, arrived in Victoria Saturday morning to a 21-gun salute as her ship, the new HMCS Max Bernays, docked at Esquimalt Harbour.

About 30 people waited under grey skies at Fort Rodd Hill to watch her arrival.

“I loved the queen and so to get to see one of her children is pretty special,” said Melanie Austin, a fan of the Royal Family.

Warren Prokopiw, who spent 25 years in the Armed Forces, including many in the navy, was excited to see HMCS Max Bernays, the first Arctic patrol vessel for Canada’s Pacific fleet.

“I was in the navy a long time. I was in HMCS Regina when she was a new ship so I saw her get commissioned and everything, so it’s nice to just see the next generation continuing on,” he said. Prokopiw enjoyed watching the naval tradition of offering the 21-gun salute.

The Princess Royal — the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip — continued her visit in Victoria with a stop at God’s Acre Veterans Cemetery in Esquimalt to learn about some of those laid to rest in the cemetery and placed a wreath at the Cross of Sacrifice.

Wearing a naval uniform, Princess Anne toured the cemetery asking questions about the different styles of grave markers and the history of the cemetery.

Golfers teeing off on the course surrounding the cemetery paused their games to snap photos of the princess as she walked the cemetery grounds.

The princess’s visit brings attention to some of the “wonderful things people do in our community,” said Bruce Hallsor, past-chair of the Monarchists League of Canada.

“That’s what royal visits are all about,” he said.

The princess also made a private stop at the Maritime Museum of B.C., which got its start from her father, Prince Philip.

During a visit to Victoria in 1951, Prince Philip learned that the B.C. coast had no naval museum.

“He set about to change that,” said Brittany Vis, executive director of the Maritime Museum of B.C., in a statement.

When he returned to England, he asked the Greenwich Museum to send some items to B.C. to start a new museum. Those objects led to the creation of the museum, Vis said.

Princess Anne’s visit to the museum’s archives and collections space included seeing those items from Greenwich.

Today, Princess Anne is scheduled to attend a commemorative service at the B.C. legislature marking the Battle of the Atlantic. The event begins at 10:25 a.m. and portions of Government, Belleville and Menzies streets will be closed from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

She is also scheduled to present prizes at the Spring Dinghies Regatta at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and visit the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association.

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