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Two Canadian groups welcome Prince Charles as patron

Prince Charles.

Luke MacGregor/Reuters/Luke MacGregor/Reuters

The Prince of Wales is lending his name to two Canadian organizations this week, days before he arrives for a tour of the country with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

The British heir apparent will become patron of the Royal Conservatory of Music and Earth Rangers, a national wildlife education program.

"They're both involved in areas that touch on the Prince's key interests," said Matthew Rowe, a spokesman for Prince's Charities Canada.

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Charles is already well known for his charitable activities in Britain, where he is president or patron of nearly 20 not-for-profit organizations that work on education, responsible business and the environment.

Neither of the Canadian groups will receive a direct grant through the arrangement, Mr. Rowe said. But the royal connection may prove useful as they pursue other funders and partners, some of which could spring from the prince's substantial global network.

"It's important not to just be a name on letterhead," he said. "He has to be engaged, and that includes keeping in touch with the organization, being relatively involved (and) taking part in events."

Angela Elster, from the Royal Conservatory of Music, said the group views the patronage as an endorsement of its methods and "a relationship to be cultivated."

"We are absolutely thrilled," she said. "I think it strengthens the tie between the United Kingdom and Canada in a very powerful way."

The Royal Conservatory has run music education programs in Canada for more than a century, but it was one of the organization's newer programs, called Learning through the Arts, that most captured the Prince's interest.

The program uses music, drama and visual arts to help teach math and science. It's been used in some Canadian communities to help keep at-risk kids in the classroom, and plans are underway to bring it to select U.K. schools through one of the Prince's British charities.

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Earth Rangers, which runs classroom visits to teach students about environmental sustainability and biodiversity, is hoping its connection with the Prince will help it build credibility as it works to expand its programming.

"We're still building our programs and brand in the country, so to have an association with someone of his stature is an honour and a nice credibility piece for us as well," executive director Peter Kendall said.

Prince Charles is patron to some 400 organizations in the United Kingdom, spanning a wide range of interests that includes everything from the British Red Cross Society to the Poultry Club of Great Britain.

In Canada, he is patron to four other organizations: The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility and the Regina Symphony Orchestra.

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Parliamentary reporter

Kim Mackrael has been a reporter for The Globe and Mail since 2011. She joined the Ottawa bureau Sept. 2012. More

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