At a time when all one seems to hear about is tragedy and politics, it is comforting to know there are still some figures who rise above the political fray and are a source of national comfort and stability. I am speaking, of course, about Her Majesty the Queen.
At times of great national and international distress, Her Majesty is there, exuding warmth and comfort. A stoic figure with a common touch, characterized by her grace, humour and humanity.
February 6th, 2022 marked the beginning of Her Majesty’s 70th year on the throne, and, on June 2nd , millions in the Commonwealth and around the globe will celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.
The federal government has provided $2.14 million for some 360 community projects to celebrate this milestone. Jubilee celebrations in Canada range from military flyovers to garden parties, to tree planting, to a children’s summer reading program in our very own St. Pierre Jolys.
Elizabeth II is the longest reigning British – and by extension Canadian – Monarch and longest serving current head of state in the world.
After the sudden passing of her father, King George VI, (then) Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952. She has said her greatest education as to how to be Queen came from the first of her fifteen Prime Ministers – Winston Churchill.
Queen Elizabeth and her husband, the late Prince Philip, loved Canada and have always had a special place for, and in the hearts of Canadians. Together, they made 22 trips to Canada.
During her reign she has traveled an astonishing 1,032,513 miles, visiting 117 of the world’s 195 countries.
She has given Royal ascent to some 4,000 acts of the UK parliament and countless more by proxy through her Governors General.
Her well known love of animals has led to some interesting gifts including two tortoises and a bull elephant named Jumbo to celebrate her silver wedding anniversary, and two black beavers from Canada.
The Queen has long been a profile in courage. From her service in uniform during WWII, to her boldly laying a wreath for fallen British Soldiers in Northern Ireland, to sitting alone to mourn the loss of her dear Philip during COVID-19, her stiff upper lip and “keep calm and carry on” demeanor has always been an example to her people.
It has been one of the greatest honours of my life to serve as a member of Her Majesty’s government in Canada and as a member of the Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.
At 95, it is no secret that Her Majesty is starting to slow down. That said, I hope she will reign for a good many years to come.
There is a comfort to Her Majesty’s presence, and when it is no longer felt it will be a strange and sad day for Canada. For the world. As such, I can think of no more fitting way to end this week’s column than with the words we learned as schoolchildren.
God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen.
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.