Recently, my husband and I have been going through the expensive and incredibly labour-intensive process of renewing our UK visas. We are eligible through a complicated “special skills” (or skillz, like the kids say) program that requires us to jump through a series of smaller and smaller hoops. Hoops we could bypass completely if one of our parents or grandparents had been born in England. I’m proud to be Canadian but what I wouldn’t give right now for a Liverpudlian grandfather.
And speaking of Liverpudlian grandfathers (and royal weddings), it appears that Kate Middleton’s grandfather had quite a strong connection to our very own Canadia (as some Brits lovingly like to call it).
According to historical records, Peter Middleton first visited Canada when he was 17. Arriving in Halifax (from Liverpool) on August 11, 1939 on the SS Andania, he was part of something called the “School Empire Tour Party”.
A few years later, Mr. Middleton returned to Calgary, with the Royal Air Force (RAF). He spent the better part of two years, training with the RAF at #37 Service Flying Training School, now occupied by Calgary International airport. Mr. Middleton, eventually, joined the 605 Squadron of Manston, Kent, in August 1944.
Sadly, Mr. Middleton will not be attending his granddaughter’s wedding. He died last November. The future princess and William will be traveling to Canada this summer, on their first official post wedding trip. They will go to Calgary and, it’s reported, will visit the Aero Space Museum, which is the only remaining building of the school where Kate’s grandfather trained.
If only gramps could see her now.