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Prince Charles and Camilla's emotional first day of Canada visit – best photos

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are in Canada in connection with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations

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Zachary Harper
Zachary HarperDigital Director for Hello! CanadaToronto
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prince charles camilla st johns© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla arrived in Canada on May 17 for a three-day trip in connection with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations – and it was an emotional first day for the future King and Queen Consort. 

MORE: All the details on Charles and Camilla's visit to Canada

The couple were greeted by Mounties in their iconic uniforms as the royal pair touched down in St. John's, which is the provincial capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, and met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with Indigenous leaders and elders for a reconciliation event. 

Keep reading to see the best – and most moving – photos from their first day in Canada. 

WATCH: Prince Charles and Camilla arrive in Canada on their 2014 trip

prince charles trudeau© Photo: Getty Images

The couple received an official welcome from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary May Simon at the Confederation Building, their first stop after getting off the plane. 

Photo: © Getty Images

mary simon prince charles camilla© The Canadian Press

Governor General Mary May Simon and her husband, Whit Fraser, also greeted them. Mary, who is Inuk, is Canada's first Indigenous Governor General. 

Photo: © The Canadian Press

prince charles camilla st johns2© The Canadian Press

The couple took part in a prayer service, during which Innu Elder Elizabeth Penashue read a prayer in Innu-aimun, the language of the Innu, the Indigenous people whose homeland comprises parts of Labrador and Quebec.

The royal couple also watched a performance heard Deantha Edmunds, an Inuk singer.

The Inuit people live in northern Quebec, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, parts of Labrador and some parts of Greenland and Alaska. 

Photo: © The Canadian Press

prince charles st johns© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Charles also spoke about the importance of reconciliation.

"We must find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of the past, acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better," the future King said in his speech, according to The Canadian Press news agency. "It is a process that starts with listening."

He went on to emphasize an "ongoing commitment to healing, respect and understanding" that he said was not a "one-off act."

"I know that our visit here comes at an important moment, with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples across Canada committing to reflect honestly and openly on the past, and to forge a new relationship for the future."

prince charles camilla heart garden© The Canadian Press

A moving service in the Heart Garden outside Government House followed. The garden was built to remember Indigenous children who attended residential schools in Canada. 

From the 1880s to the late 20th century, Indigenous children across Canada were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to residential schools. They were not allowed to speak their traditional languages there, and many faced abuse in the schools. It is estimated thousands children died in the system. 

Photo: © The Canadian Press

prince charles camilla elders© The Canadian Press

 During the ceremony, the royals met with Indigenous elders. 

Photo: © The Canadian Press

prince charles camilla smudging© Photo: Getty Images

The service also included a traditional smudging ceremony and prayer. 

prince charles camilla horses© The Canadian Press

The couple also had a very cute moment with these horses at the Confederation Building. 

Photo: © The Canadian Press

prince charles felt sculptures© Photo: Getty Images

Later at Government House, Rosemarie Péloquin, a Canadian artist who makes felt sculptures, was proud to show Charles likenesses of himself and Her Majesty that she had crafted. He was tickled pink! 

prince charles camilla rugs© The Canadian Press

Charles, who has long been an advocate of organic farming and those who work with wool, also got the chance to see a rug hooking demonstration at Quidi Vidi Village later in the day. 

Photo: © The Canadian Press

prince charles camilla inlet© The Canadian Press

Newfoundland is incredibly picturesque, and the couple couldn't resist posing for a photo on a beautiful inlet in the village. 

Photo: © The Canadian Press

prince charles camilla beer© The Canadian Press

Cheers! The couple ended their day at the local brewery, enjoying some refreshing pints of beer. 

Their tour continues with stops in Ottawa on May 18 and the Northwest Territories on May 19. 

Photo: © The Canadian Press

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