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The Crown


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Monarchism is based on ancient principles favouring a symbolic leader, state traditions, nonpartisan public relations, and modern principles of parliamentary democracy. Canada, an autocratic monarchy before responsible government was established, has become a constitutional monarchy in which the Sovereign, Governor General, and Lieutenant Governors act on ministerial advice.


Roles and Responsibilities

The monarch is Canada's official Head of State through which the entire authority of the government is set in motion and in whose name laws are enacted. The Sovereign's role is set out the Constitution Act and that same act gives the monarch ultimate authority over Canada's Armed Forces. Canada's Sovereign is also the Head of State of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom.

In practice, however, the Sovereign has little or no part to play in Canadian government. He or she appoints the Governor General, but does so only on the Prime Minister's recommendation. Once appointed, it is the Governor General who performs the monarch's duties, and these duties have been mainly ceremonial for many years. Only during royal visits does the Sovereign carry out those functions normally performed in her name by the Governor General, such as the opening of Parliament.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, and her other realms and territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

Her Majesty the Queen was born in London on April 21, 1926, first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, subsequently King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Five weeks later she was christened in the chapel of Buckingham Palace and was given the names Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.

Princess Elizabeth, with her sister Princess Margaret born four years later, had her early education at home. After her father succeeded to the throne in 1936 and she became heiress presumptive, her studies were extended to include lessons on constitutional history and law. She also studied art and music; learned to ride (she has been an excellent horsewoman since early childhood); and enjoyed swimming (at the age of thirteen she won the Children's Challenge Shield at the Bath Club in London), and amateur theatricals. At the age of eleven she enroled as a Girl Guide, and later became a Sea Ranger.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Canada As the Princess grew older she began to take part in public life; she was fourteen when she made her first broadcast, in a message given during the BBC's children's programme to the children of Britain and the Commonwealth in October 1940.

In 1944, shortly after her eighteen birthday, she was appointed a Counsellor of State during the King's absence on a tour of the Italian battlefields, and, for the first time, exercised certain functions of the Crown.

After the war, the Princess Elizabeth's public engagements grew in number and frequency. Her first official visit overseas took place in 1947, when she accompanied her parents and sister on a tour of South Africa. During this tour, she celebrated her twenty-first birthday, on which she made a broadcast address dedicating herself to the service of the Commonwealth, a dedication which she repeated five years later on her ascension to the throne, on February 6, 1952.

Shortly after the return of the Royal Family from South Africa came the announcement of the engagement of the Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, son of Prince Andrew of Greece and a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, now His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whom she had known for many years. Their wedding took place in Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. The Prince Charles, now the Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne, was born in 1948, and his sister, the Princess Anne, now the Princess Royal, in 1950. The third child of the Queen and the Duke, the Prince Andrew, now the Duke of York, was born in 1960, and their fourth, the Prince Edward, in 1964. The Queen and the Duke celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in London in 1972.

After her marriage, the Princess Elizabeth paid formal visits with the Duke of Edinburgh to France an Greece and, in the autumn of 1951 the couple toured Canada. In 1952, when King George VI's illness made it inadvisable for him to carry out his projected visit to Australia and New Zealand, the Princess, accompanied by the Duke, took his place, and it was in the first stage Of this journey, in Kenya, that she received the news of her father's death and her own ascension to the throne.

Her Majesty's coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. The ceremony, which was attended by representatives of the peers, the Commons and all the great public interests in Britain, the Prime Ministers and leading citizens of the other Commonwealth countries and representatives of foreign states, was brought home to many hundreds of thousands of the Queen's subjects in a way never before possible: for the first time in history the coronation of a British monarch was marked by a television transmission as well as a radio broadcast throughout the world.

In autumn of the following year, Her Majesty set out to accomplish, as Queen, the Commonwealth tour she had begun before the death of her father and her accession to the throne.

In 1977, the Queen's Silver Jubilee was celebrated in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen travelled some 56 000 miles to share the anniversary with her people.

The Queen has six grandchildren.

Her Majesty The Queen has given her patronage to many Canadian organizations: Canadian Cancer Society; Canadian Medical Association; Canadian National Exhibition Association; Canadian Nurses Association; Canadian Red Cross Society; Save the Children Canada; Federated Women's Institute of Canada; Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (Canada); National Sanatorium Association, Toronto; Navy League of Canada; St. John's Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg and Toronto French School.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Canada Her Majesty has also many service appointments. The Queen is Captain General of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery since 1953; Colonel-in-Chief of the King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC) since 1953, le Royal 22e Regiment since 1953, the Governor General's Foot Guards since 1953, the Canadian Grenadiers Guards since 1953, le Regiment de la Chaudiere since 1947, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) since 1952, the 48th Highlanders of Canada since 1947, the Royal New Brunswick Regiment since 1956, the Canadian Forces Military Engineers Branch since 1977, the Calgary Highlanders since 1981, the Royal Canadian Air Force Auxiliary and the Governor General's Horse Guards since 1988. Her Majesty is Air Commodore-in-Chief of Air Reserve.

The Queen visited Canada on numerous occasions:

  • 1957, four years after her coronation, to Ottawa and Hull to open the 23rd Parliament;
  • 1959, for a cross Canada tour including both territories and to open the St. Lawrence Seaway;
  • 1964, to Charlottetown, Quebec City and Ottawa;
  • 1967, to Ottawa to attend ceremonies relating to Centennial Anniversary and to Montrnal to visit Expo 67;
  • 1970, to Manitoba and Northwest Territories to participate in their respective Centennial anniversary;
  • 1971, to British Columbia to mark the Centenary Anniversary of this Province in the Confederation;
  • 1973, to Ontario, Prince Edward Island for its Centennial in Confederation, to Saskatchewan and Alberta to mark the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Centennial;
  • 1973, to Ottawa for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting;
  • 1976, to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before opening and attending Games of the XXI Olympiad in Montrnal;
  • 1977, to Ottawa on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee year;
  • 1978, to Newfoundland and Saskatchewan and to Alberta to attend the XI Commonwealth Games in Edmonton;
  • 1982, to Ottawa on the occasion of the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982;
  • 1983, to British Columbia;
  • 1984, to New Brunswick and Ontario to participate in their Bicentennials, to Ottawa and Manitoba;
  • 1987, to British Columbia to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, to Saskatchewan and Quebec;
  • 1990, to Alberta and the National Capital Region (Ottawa and Hull);
  • 1992, to the National Capital Region for the 125th anniversary of Confederation;
  • 1994, to Nova Scotia, British Columbia (for the XV Commonwealth Games in Victoria) and the Northwest Territories;
  • 1997, to Newfoundland, Ontario, and the National Capital Region for Cabot 500 and Canada Day celebrations;
  • 2002, to Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Nunavut on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee year;
  • 2005, to Saskatchewan and Alberta to commemorate the centenary of their entry into Confederation; and
  • 2010, to Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Manitoba to mark the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy.

The Queen's Personal Flag in Canada
The Queen's Personal Flag in Canada

See also
Former Sovereigns of Canada
Governor General of Canada
Lieutenant Governors of Canada

External Links
British Monarchy Official Website

Royal Insignia
Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt