• Princess Anne

    John Geiger, CEO of the RCGS, presents Princess Anne with an RCGS Fellows neck badge in St. James's Palace today in London. The badge denotes the Princess Royal's status as an Honorary Fellow of the RCGS. (Photo: royal.uk)

It’s an addition that will make The Royal Canadian Geographical Society that much more royal.

Princess Anne was today made an Honorary Fellow of the RCGS at St. James’s Palace in London, England, during an audience she had granted to John Geiger, the society’s CEO.

Geiger presented the Princess Royal, who is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, with a Fellows neck badge to mark the occasion and shortly afterward also presented her with a copy of the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada.

“The Princess Royal is a leading advocate for geographical literacy,” said Geiger. “During her many visits to Canada she has shown a deep love of the country and its peoples, and indeed has experienced many remote parts of Canada. In other words she’s an ideal candidate for Honorary Fellowship in the RCGS.”

Geiger took to Twitter after the presentation, noting that Princess Anne’s “deep interest in geography and her knowledge of Canada and all things polar make her an ideal FRCGS.”

Deborah Apps, who is the president and CEO of Trans Canada Trail and an RCGS Fellow, joined Geiger in London for the presentation and said on Twitter that she was honoured to help welcome the princess into the society. Apps said she was proud of her organization’s national partnership with the RCGS.

The news of the princess accepting her Fellowship in the society was also shared on the Royal Family’s official Twitter account, which posted pictures of the Fellows neck badge presentation and explained the society’s work to its 3.97 million followers: “The society seeks to make Canada better known to Canadians and the world, through its educational program and by supporting geographical expeditions and research.”

Princess Anne’s being named an Honorary Fellow is the latest chapter in a long relationship between the RCGS and the Royal Family. In 1930, her great-uncle, Edward, Prince of Wales, was the first member of the Royal Family to become a Fellow. In 1957, the then 28-year-old Canadian Geographical Society was granted the right to add “Royal” to its title, through the efforts of Vincent Massey, who was the governor general of Canada at the time and the patron of the society.