|Monarchy of Canada|
|This article is part of a series|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Canada|
|By Provinces and Territories|
The history of monarchy in Canada stretches from pre-colonial times through to the present day. Canada's monarchical status began with the establishment of the French colony of New France in the name of King Francis I in 1534; although a previous claim was made by England in the name of King Henry VII in 1497 when John Cabot made landfall in what is thought to be modern day Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. Through both these lineages, the present Canadian monarchy can trace itself back to the Anglo-Saxon period and ultimately to the kings of the Angles and the early Scottish kings. Kings and queens reigning over Canada have included the monarchs of France (to King Louis XV in 1763), those of the United Kingdom (to King George V in 1931), and those of Canada (to Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada today). Canadian historian Father Jacques Monet said of Canada's Crown: "[it is] one of an approximate half-dozen that have survived through uninterrupted inheritance from beginnings that are older than our Canadian institution itself."
Canada's first European monarchs instigated, funded, and supported the exploration and settlement of the country. Throughout the 18th century, via war and treaties, the Canadian colonies of France were ceded to King George III. The colonies were confederated by Queen Victoria in 1867 to form the Dominion of Canada. Canada later became a fully independent country through the Constitution Act of 1982 proclaimed by Elizabeth II, the Queen of Canada.
While no indigenous North Americans in what is now Canada had what would be seen today as an official monarchy, some aboriginal peoples, before their first encounters with French and British colonisers, were governmentally organised in a fashion similar to the occidental idea of monarchy. Europeans often considered vast territories belonging to different aboriginal groups to be kingdoms, along the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River between the Trinity River and the Isle-aux-Coudres, and the neighbouring kingdom of Canada, which stretched west to the Island of Montreal—and the leaders of these communities were referred to as kings, particularly those chosen through heredity. Many had chieftains, whose powers varied from one nation to the next; in some examples, the chief would exercise considerable authority and influence on the decisions of the group, while in others he was more of a symbolic or ceremonial figure. In the latter cases, considering that many First Nations societies were governed by unwritten customs and codes of conduct, wherein the chieftain was bound to follow the advice of a council of elders, the form of government would have closely resembled a modern constitutional monarchy.
The first French colonies in North America were established in the name of King Henry IV at Acadia (today Nova Scotia) three years into the 17th century—the second being named Port Royal in his honour—and, by 1610, the first British settlements were established on Newfoundland, which had earlier been claimed in 1583 for Queen Elizabeth I. The following year, Henry Hudson embarked on the first trading voyage that led to the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company by Royal Charter from King Charles II; the King claimed an area that covered what is now Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Minnesota, North Dakota, and more and called the area Rupert's Land, after Prince Rupert, who helped to form the HBC.
The French monarch also moved quickly and it was in 1602 that Aymar de Chaste was appointed as Viceroy of Canada to represent King Henry IV. In 1615, Quebec City was, on the recommendation of Samuel de Champlain, made a royal capital of the French empire in the Americas, with Champlain—who had been representative of, or lieutenant governor to, most Viceroys of Canada—installed as the first viceregal representative of the King in New France. Some 60 years later, New France was designated as a royal province of France itself, ruled by the King through his appointed Conseil souverain, which included the governor general as the monarch's stand-in. One of the king's decrees, intended to augment, as well as level the gender imbalance of, the population of New France in the 1660s, was to send between seven and nine hundred women, known as the filles du roi (Daughters of the King), to the province, each with dowry, new clothing, and paid passage to the New World. As the population increased, infrastructure was built, such as the Chemin du Roi (King's Highway) between Montreal and Quebec City, and the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec, in the welfare of which the King took great interest. This type of French royal patronage extended through the 18th century; for example, from 1713 until 1758, Île-Royale, and especially Louisbourg, was a project of Kings Louis XIV and XV, much of the financing for infrastructure—some 20 million livres—being provided by the monarchs (their names therefore appearing on such works).
As Europeans moved inland, they encountered the aboriginal peoples; relations with them were originally considered to be between European and North American monarchs—though, for the French, that later changed to be one between sovereign and subject, and for the British, between European and aboriginal nations under one king—leading to the incorporation of treaties with the Crown into the political culture of Canada. While the aboriginal chiefs did aid the monarchs with their North American conflicts, affairs in Europe would also affect the dealings of the New World and eventually almost all of the French king's possessions in what was known as Canada were transferred from him to the British Crown, providing Canada with one singular monarchy. But, this placement of French people under a British sovereign did not come without friction; during the escalation of hostilities in the lead-up to the Seven Years' War, the descendants of French colonialists in Acadia were asked by British officials, uneasy about where the Acadians' loyalties lay, to reaffirm their allegiance to King George III. The Acadians refused, and were subsequently deported from the area in what became known as the Great Upheaval.
Following the Treaty of Paris, which concluded the Seven Years' War in 1763, a Royal Proclamation was issued by George III, which established an appointed colonial government, and served as the basis for the constitution of colonial Province of Quebec until 1774. The Royal Proclamation limited the settlement of the southern Thirteen Colonies to the east of the Appalachian Mountains, with the areas west of the mountains being named as an Indian Reserve. As the proclamation was the first legal recognition by the British Crown of Aboriginal rights," some view the proclamation as a fundamental document for First Nations land claims and self-government in Canada. In 1774 the Quebec Act was passed, which saw the Crown guarantee the continued free practice of Catholicism, as well as the restoration of the French civil law legal system for issues relating to private law. The Royal Proclamation of 1763, along with the Quebec Act, was regarded by American colonists as one of the Intolerable Acts that together eventually led to the outbreak of the American Revolution.
Tensions between the British government and the Thirteen colonies eventually led to the American Revolutionary War. The conflict resulted in some 46,000 people loyal to the Crown—dubbed United Empire Loyalists—to flee north from the United States; the King-in-Council granted each family 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land. At the same time, thousands of Iroquois and other Aboriginals were expelled from New York and other states, resettling under the protection of the Crown in what is now Ontario, and some 3,000 former slaves of African ancestry, known as Black Loyalists, settled in Nova Scotia. Continuing today, Ontario residents descended from these original refugees retain the post-nominals UE, standing for United Empire. The loyalists who settled in Nova Scotia, however, were not immediately made to feel comfortable, as many of the already settled residents were aligned with the United States and its republican cause; Colonel Thomas Dundas wrote from Saint John in 1786: "[The Loyalists] have experienced every possible injury from the old inhabitants of Nova Scotia, who are even more disaffected towards the British Government than any of the new States ever were. This makes me much doubt their remaining long dependent."
Prince William (later King William IV) arrived in Canada in July 1786, when he stated of the country, and more specifically, St. John's: "truly deplorable... a most dreadful, inhospitable and barren country"; though, he later changed his opinion after meeting the local women, commenting on Canada's "inexhaustible supply of women of the most obliging kind." He also became, in 1787, the first member of the Royal Family to visit Quebec.
Four years later, the Prince's brother, Prince Edward (later the Duke of Kent and father of Queen Victoria), served from 1791 until the turn of that century in Canada on military duties and as Commander of British North American troops; it is speculated that during that time he fathered two children by his Canadian mistress, Julie de St. Laurent. The Prince lived at Quebec City, where he oversaw the establishment of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Quebec), a project of personal interest to his father, the King. In 1792, when the first elections for the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada took place, a riot, fuelled by ethnic character, broke out at one of the polls. Prince Edward was said to have climbed up to where he could be heard and addressed the crowd, stating: "Part then in peace. I urge you to unanimity and accord. Let me hear no more of the odious distinctions of English and French. You are all His Britannic Majesty's beloved Canadian subjects." It was reportedly the first time the word Canadian, which had previously been reserved only for Francophones, was used in a manner that included all colonialists.
Almost twenty years later, Prince Edward's only legitimate daughter, Victoria, was born on 24 May 1819, at Kensington Palace. However, Edward died shortly thereafter, leaving Victoria as heir to the throne until, upon the death of William IV, she ascended as queen at the age of 18. Though she would never visit Canada, she received numerous Canadians in audience (especially her father's friends) and her image, thanks to the spread of newspapers and the invention of photography, was reproduced sufficiently to maintain popularity and loyalty in her colonies.
Insurrections against the Crown did still take place, though; notably the Rebellions of 1837, which had been stirred up by the rise in power and influence of the United States and republican sentiment. Most colonists, though, did not espouse a break with the Crown and, in the wake of the disturbances, the Queen called on her people in Upper Canada to eschew vengeance on the perpetrators in favour of justice. Further, the British parliament granted responsible government to the Canadas, with the support of Victoria herself, despite its decrease of the political influence in the colonies of both she and her representatives.
Where royal influence was lessened, though, it increased in other areas; Canadians celebrated momentous moments in the Queen's life—such as her marriage to Prince Albert—royal events were inaugurated—such as the Queen's Plate, created with Queen Victoria's blessing in 1860—and, while she was monarch, Victoria's children and grandchildren would come to Canada as either the governor general or viceregal consort, or to tour the country.
Prior to the confederation of Canada, in which Queen Victoria took personal interest, a number of issues were of prime concern in the deliberations on the amalgamation of the four Canadian provinces into a country, most notably, the threat of invasion by the United States. It was the explicit intention of the Fathers of Confederation to unite the disparate British entities in North America into a single state under a constitutional monarchy, the men seeing that form of government as a balance between the autocracy of the Russian Empire and the popular sovereignty of the United States, the latter having just led to the American Civil War, which was seen as "the final stage in the discredit of [American] democracy and republicanism." A Canadian crown, the Fathers thought, would ensure diversity and racial harmony in Canada, thereby strengthening its legal and cultural sovereignty, especially considering the presence of the United States and its policy of Manifest Destiny. At the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, the deligates agreed unanimously that the new federation should be a constitutional monarchy.
By the mid-1860s, neither the name nor the location of the capital of the hypothetical new union had been settled. On the former issue, various suggestions were put forward—including Victorialand, in honour of the Queen—but John A. Macdonald and then Governor General of the Province of Canada, the Viscount Monk, supported the name Kingdom of Canada, to "fix the monarchical basis of the constitution." The proposal, however, caused worries in the Foreign and Colonial Office in London that such a title would provoke the republican United States and a compromise term, Dominion, was adopted instead. Which city would serve as the capital of this Dominion was left by the British North America Act, 1867—the Act of Parliament confederating Canada on 1 July of that year—to be decided by Queen Victoria, who has since been dubbed the "Mother of Confederation". From a list that included various well-established cities in Upper and Lower Canada, Victoria chose the small community of Bytowne (later renamed as Ottawa) on the grounds that it was defensible, located on a major waterway, and sat on the border between the two largest provinces of Canada, Quebec and Ontario.
The new constitution vested in the Queen responsibility for peace, order, and good government, as D'Arcy McGee had desired. In practice, though, the Second Reform Act, 1867, and the emergence of a two-party system decreased Victoria's personal room for manoeuvre. Still, the ceremonial role for the monarchy remained unaltered and the first visit of a member of the Royal Family to the Dominion of Canada took place two years after its creation; the sovereign's second son, Prince Arthur, arrived for training with the Rifle Brigade based at Montreal; of the Prince, the Lady Lisgar, wife of Governor General the Lord Lisgar, noted in a letter to Victoria that Canadians seemed hopeful Prince Arthur would one day return as governor general himself. In the same year, Rupert's Land was ceded to the Crown in Right of Canada from the Hudson's Bay Company, pulling it into the jurisdiction of the Northwest Territories. This move sparked a Métis rebellion and the establishment by Louis Riel of a provisional republican government in the Red River Valley. Following negotiations with Riel's government, the province of Manitoba was established in 1870 by the granting of Royal Assent to the Manitoba Act by Governor General the Earl of Dufferin.
As successor to Dufferin, rather than sending Arthur to Canada as her representative, Queen Victoria, on the advice of her British privy council, instead appointed her son-in-law, the Marquess of Lorne, in 1878. This meant that, for the first time, Rideau Hall would have a permanent royal resident: Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise. When the news reached Canada that a daughter of the Queen would be viceregal consort of Canada, a "thrill of joy burst upon the Dominion"; it was felt the Princess would be a strong link between Canadians and their sovereign. However, the couple were initially not received well by the Canadian press, which complained about the imposition of royalty on the country's hitherto un-regal society, which was only exasperated by mishaps and misunderstandings, and the resulting negative press horrified the Princess. Louise endeared herself by making clear she had no pretenses and eventually the worries of a rigid court at the Queen's Canadian residence turned out to be unfounded; the royal couple were found to be more relaxed than their predecessors, as demonstrated at the many Ice skating and tobogganing parties, balls, dinners, and other state occasions hosted by the Marquess and Marchioness. The pair also made extensive tours of the country; their three-month visit to British Columbia in 1882 did much to reconcile the local inhabitants to Confederation. The Princess proved so popular that when the Governor General announced that the awaited completion of the transcontinental railway would pass through Kicking Horse Pass into what has since become Vancouver, rather than by the Yellowhead Pass to Bute Inlet, Premier Robert Beaven asked the Duke whether it would be possible for Vancouver Island to become a separate kingdom with Princess Louise as queen.
The royal couple made a number of lasting contributions to Canadian society, especially in the realm of the arts and sciences, including the establishment of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and the National Gallery of Canada. Louise was proficient in watercolour and oil painting, hanging many of her own works around Rideau Hall and painting sprigs of apple blossoms on doors along the palace's Monck Wing corridor (one of which remains to the present), as well as overseeing the creation of the statue of Queen Victoria that stands on McGill University campus. Various locations were named for her, including Alberta, and the Princess herself gave the name Regina to the capital of Saskatchewan. In all, Louise made such an impression on Canadian life that at her funeral on 12 December 1939, her coffin was bourne by her own Canadian regiment, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada.
In Queen Victoria's latter years, both her Golden and Diamond Jubilees—held in 1887 and 1897 to celebrate the 50th and 60th anniversaries, respectively, of the Queen's accession—were marked with great displays and public ceremonies in Canada, as well as colonial conferences held in the United Kingdom and attended by the prime ministers of the Dominions. For the Diamond Jubilee in Britain, Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier was invited and Canadian troops partook in Victoria's procession on the day of celebration, 22 June. In Canada, a series of commemorative stamps, the first ever produced by the country, was issued on 19 June and streets were decorated in cities and towns to mark Accession Day and the 22 June public holiday, on which fêtes brought Canadians of different ethnicities together. On that day, the Queen sent a telegram to all the Dominions, the message arriving in Canada five minutes after being sent from Buckingham Palace.
In between the jubilees, in December 1894, Prime Minister John Thompson died at Windsor Castle when there to be admitted by the Queen to the imperial privy council, being struck with a heart attack mere hours after the ceremony. Victoria, then aged and using a wheelchair, was wheeled into St. George's Chapel, where Thompson lay-in-state, and placed a wreath on her former prime minister's coffin. This moment was captured in a painting by Frederic Bell-Smith, but the canvas was destroyed in the burning of the Centre Block in 1916.
Victoria herself died at Osborne House on 22 January 1901, after a reign lasting almost 64 years and was succeeded by her eldest son, King Edward VII. Canada mourned the loss of Victoria and the Earl of Minto, then governor general, and Wilfrid Laurier were at odds over which church in Ottawa should host the official memorial service for the late queen; Minto favoured the Church of England cathedral, respecting the church to which Victoria had belonged, while Laurier and other ministers attended services of their own communion. Still, this minor dispute did not affect the mark left on Canada by Victoria's long and popular reign, which resulted in many places being named in her honour and monuments to her, such as statues on Parliament Hill and throughout the provinces. The Queen's reign was permanently memorialised in Canada when, in the spring of 1901, it was decided by parliament that 24 May would continue as a holiday marking the late Queen's birthday, named as Victoria Day, to distinguish it from the King's birthday celebration to be held in November.
The end of Victoria's reign marked the beginning of a new century, and one which would see Canada's rapid growth as a nation. As modern modes of transportation allowed for easier travel across the oceans, more of the Royal Family came to tour the King's northern Dominion. The first since Queen Victoria's death was the son of the reigning king, Prince George (later King George V) and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall and York, who arrived in Canada in 1901. Events during the royal tour, which took in the country between Quebec City and Victoria, had a more casual atmosphere than their equivalents in the United Kingdom; it was reported that at one state dinner the couple "shook hands with between two and three thousand guests, never appearing tired, but always manifesting signs of interest, bowing and smiling to all presented to them." The Prince returned only once more before he became king, when he visited in 1908, by then as Prince of Wales, to celebrate the tercentenary of Quebec City's founding; the governor general at the time, the Earl Grey, reported back to King Edward VII that the Prince "has taught the people of Quebec how to cheer."
Edward VII died in 1910, which led to a period of official mourning, with numerous memorials held across the country. He was succeeded by his son George, who a year later appointed his uncle, Prince Arthur, as Governor General of Canada, thereby fulfilling the desire of Canadians earlier expressed by the Lady Lisgar, and bringing Arthur back to Canada for a fourth time as the first natural member of the Royal Family to serve as the Canadian federal viceroy. King George V was reported to have had much to do with the appointment. Arthur brought with him to Canada his wife, Princess Louise, and his youngest daughter, Princess Patricia, and the family travelled extensively across Canada, the Prince performing ceremonial tasks, such as in 1917 laying the cornerstone of the reconstructed federal parliament building (which had first been set by Prince Albert Edward in 1860), and making a concerted effort to contribute to the social life of the capital, using Rideau Hall as a major site for events for Canadians from across the country.
The Prince was, though, sometimes thought to have overstepped the still un-cemented bounds of constitutional monarchy in Canada, particularly in his carrying out of the ceremonial duties of the Commander-in-Chief during the First World War. Still, Prince Arthur stressed the importance of Canadian military contributions, promoting military training and readiness for Canadian troops, but also sought to enhance charity at home. To put this preaching into practice, the Duchess of Connaught, in addition to working for the Red Cross and other organisations, for Christmas in 1915 sent a card and a box of maple sugar to every Canadian serving overseas. She also had a knitting machine at Rideau Hall, on which she made thousands of pairs of socks for soldiers. Prince Arthur was active in auxiliary war services and charities, conducted a number hospital visits, and, following the war, commissioned a stained glass window, located in St. Bartholomew's Church, next to Rideau Hall, in memory of the Government House staff who lost their lives during the war. In the United Kingdom, the King and Queen visited with Canadian troops stationed there, as well as with the nurses of Canada's Red Cross Hospital.
At the end of 1916, Prince Arthur publicly expressed his regret at having to leave Canada, as he and his family had grown very comfortable there. The royal family left a legacy behind them: Port Arthur, now part of Thunder Bay, Ontario, was named in honour of the Prince, who also gave his name to Connaught Cup for pistol marksmanship of recruits in the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. In addition, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry was created in 1914 and the Princess was herself eventually appointed by the King as Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment on 22 February 1918; an appointment she held until her death. It was during her time in Rideau Hall that she met her future husband, Alexander Ramsay, who was then acting as Aide-de-Camp to her father.
After the end of the war, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), toured Canada in 1919, opening the third session of the 13th Canadian Parliament, amongst other duties performed when he had not disappeared to attend dances or to play golf, instead. He proved very popular with Canadians, though; when, in Toronto, he was greeted with enthusiasm by a crowd of soldiers just returned from Europe after the end of the war, who lifted Edward off his horse and "passed him, like a football, over their heads," and a veteran approached the Prince and casually said: "put it there, Ed." From that point on Edward shook hands with anyone who approached him, to the point where his right hand "became so black, swollen and painful from the continued enthusiastic handshaking that, in his own words, he 'retired it temporarily from Imperial service, and offered the left instead." Edward returned to Ottawa to lay the foundation stone of the Peace Tower before returning to the United Kingdom. Canada proved popular with the Prince as well; he purchased the 400-acre (1.6 km2) E.P. Ranch near Pekisko, High River, in Alberta; Edward held this ranch, and stayed at it numerous times, before selling it in 1962, a decade before his death.
Events took place in 1926 that would set the course for a dramatic shift in the role of the federal viceroy and ultimately result in the creation of a distinct monarchy for Canada. Until that point, the governor general remained a representative in Canada of the British government, but was still able to exercise the Royal Prerogative over the Canadian prime minister without orders from the King in his British Council back in Westminster. When the governor general at the time, the Lord Byng of Vimy, did just that and forced Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King to resign in what came to be known as the King–Byng Affair, the latter was, once reappointed following that year's general election, motivated to raise at the 1926 Imperial Conference questions about the relationship between the Dominions and the United Kingdom. The first ministers were mostly receptive, and, following the close of the meeting, the Balfour Declaration was issued, wherein it was declared that the Dominions of the British Crown were to be considered equal to the United Kingdom, as Mackenzie King had wished, and the Governor General of Canada, as with all the other governors-general of the empire, would be the direct representative of the King in person, rather than a diplomatic channel between the Canadian and British governments.
The first evocation of these concepts in statute law was seen in 1927, the same year King George V and his consort, Queen Mary, opened Canada House in London and Princes Edward and George unveiled the Laurier monument on Parliament Hill, dedicated the Princes' Gates, and opened Union Station in Toronto, after which Edward went to Alberta to spend time on his ranch. Passed by the British parliament, the 1927 Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act altered part of the King's title to reflect his new status as monarch of each Dominion individually, rather than as King of the United Kingdom throughout all countries. Then, in 1931, the notions of independence and equality were manifested in the Statute of Westminster's legal end to the British parliament's ability to legislate for the Dominions without the expressed consent of the latter. As a result, laws outlining the succession—notably, the Act of Settlement, 1701—as pertaining to Canada, were now under the control of the Canadian parliament, and the King could only be advised on Canadian affairs by his Canadian ministers. The monarchy of Canada had "assumed its full constitutional meaning."
Though the Canadian Cabinet had in 1930 suggested to the King that he appoint his son, Prince Albert, Duke of York, as Governor General of Canada, both George V and the Duke were hesitant; the latter had two young daughters—a toddler (later Queen Elizabeth II) and a newborn (Princess Margaret)—and the former wished that Albert remain close to compensate for the behaviour of the Prince of Wales. As the Statute of Westminster had not yet been implemented, the British Cabinet eventually advised against the Canadian idea and instead recommended the Earl of Bessborough as viceroy, though this was ultimately because the Lord Passfield, then the Minister for the Dominions, thought that, despite the request directly from their government, Canadians disliked the Royal Family. As Albert eventually went on to become King George VI, had the Canadian Privy Council's idea been accepted, a Canadian Governor General who represented the King would have gone on to become King of Canada himself.
Canadians (and the Commonwealth as a whole) heard in 1932 the first Royal Christmas Message, as read by George V, who, three years later, celebrated his Silver Jubilee. The euphoria was short lived, however, as the King died on 20 January 1936, and even the hope that surrounded the accession of his eldest son as King Edward VIII did not, as with his reign, survive the year. However, early into Edward's reign, in July 1936, he took his only foreign trip as the reigning sovereign, to unveil the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, in his capacity as the king of Canada.
Despite his popularity in Canada and elsewhere when he was Prince of Wales, the new King's relationship with the twice-divorced, American socialite Wallis Simpson caused serious concern, more so among Canadians, who were more familiar with the personal life of their sovereign than the populace of the UK, due to the British press' self-imposed ban on publishing the exploits of the King and Simpson. Governor General the Lord Tweedsmuir conveyed to Buckingham Palace and British prime minister Stanley Baldwin his observations of Canadians' deep affection for the King, but also the outrage towards Canadian puritanism—both Catholic and Protestant—that would occur if Edward VIII married a divorcée. Further, the Cabinet telegrammed the King, urging him to place his duty as sovereign above his feelings for Simpson. As popular anger mounted in tandem with the imminence of a marriage between Edward and Simpson, Baldwin drafted proposed solutions to the crisis; as with most other Dominion prime ministers, Canada's, Mackenzie King, rejected the notions that either a royal or morganatic marriage take place, leaving only the King's abdication as the final option. As such, Edward VIII renounced his Canadian Crown on 10 December, giving, with the consent of his Canadian ministers, Royal Assent to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936, and his brother became King George VI. A proclamation of accession was drafted by the Cabinet and read by the Prime Minister as a radio broadcast. The Canadian parliament later passed the Succession to the Throne Act, 1937, to ratify the abdication into Canadian law and demonstrate Canada's independence from the United Kingdom. Mackenzie King wrote in his diary just before the abdication that he had "no fears about Canada... [I]n all probability with the Duke and Duchess of York as King and Queen, and with the little Princess Elizabeth in the picture, there will be a much happier situation in the New Year than there has been at any time since the time of George V."
In an effort to foster Canadian identity, and knowing that George VI would assume the separate title King of Canada at his upcoming coronation, Buchan conceived in 1937 of a royal tour by the monarch, so that, through seeing "their king performing royal functions, supported by his Canadian ministers," Canadians might be made more aware of their country's status as an independent kingdom. Mackenzie King agreed with this notion, though also felt, along with officials in the United Kingdom, that the trip would have an element of public relations: the presence of the King and Queen, in both Canada and the United States, was calculated to shore up sympathy for Britain in anticipation of hostilities with Nazi Germany. Thus, the Prime Minister, while in London in May 1937 for the coronation, formally consulted with the King on the matter, and, more than a year later, George VI agreed, though officials in the Dominions Office in London resisted the idea of a separate role for George VI as king of Canada. On 17 May 1939, the King of Canada, accompanied by his royal consort, Queen Elizabeth, stepped off the Canadian Pacific liner RMS Empress of Australia at Wolfe's Cove, in Quebec City, and became the first reigning sovereign of Canada to set foot on Canadian soil.
The reaction by the public was positive beyond expectation, and from the start it was noted that the king was present as Canada's sovereign; a newspaper at the time stated: "The King of Canada walked yesterday, as he walks today, among his own. There can be welcomes elsewhere in Canada equal to his reception in Quebec. None will surpass it." The King immediately set about carrying out his royal duties, including receiving the new American envoy to Canada, granting Royal Assent to bills passed by parliament, and ratifying treaties, amongst other ceremonial tasks, such as presiding over celebrations on Parliament Hill for his Canadian official birthday, the first time this had been marked in the presence of the sovereign himself. After travelling to the west coast and back, meeting thousands of Canadians along the way (by the end of the first week alone, 2 million of Canada's 11 million inhabitants had turned out to see the royal couple) the King and Queen also conducted, between 7 and 10 June, a state visit on behalf of Canada to the United States. The royal couple then returned to Canada, touring the Maritimes and the still separate Dominion of Newfoundland.
Only five months after the departure of George VI and his wife from Canada, Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. The King did so as King of the United Kingdom on 3 September 1939, but, as King of Canada, was not advised by his Canadian ministers to do the same until 10 September. Initially, Mackenzie King and Minister of Justice Ernest Lapointe argued in the House of Commons that, despite the provisions of the Statute of Westminster, Canada would be bound by Britain's declaration of war and no explicit Canadian approval was sought for or given to that which George VI issued on 3 September. However, after it was realised that Canada was absent from the list of belligerent states in President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt's 5 September declaration of neutrality, parliament was convened on 7 September and approved of Canada's need to defend itself, after which the Cabinet petitioned the King to declare war for Canada. These were significant developments as they became examples for other Dominions to follow and, by the war's end, F.R. Scott concluded that "it is firmly established as a basic constitutional principle that, so far as relates to Canada, the King is regulated by Canadian law and must act only on the advice and responsibility of Canadian ministers."
Governor General the Lord Tweedsmuir died in February 1940, while still viceroy, and so the uncle of George VI, the Earl of Athlone, was appointed to the post, requiring he and his wife, Princess Alice, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and Athlone's Aide-de-Camp, Alastair Windsor, Earl of Macduff, the grandson of previous governor general Prince Arthur, to make the trans-oceanic journey in the midst of the ongoing Battle of the Atlantic. The Governor General and Princess Alice became supporters of the Canadian war effort; Alice was appointed Honorary Commandant of a number of women's military services, such as the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service and the Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division, while Athlone travelled extensively throughout the country in an effor to spread the message that King George VI was dedicated to fighting totalitarianism. The royal couple hosted the Quebec Conferences in 1943 and 1944 wherein American president Franklin D. Roosevelt, Canadian prime minister Mackenzie King, and British prime minister Winston Churchill decided the strategies of the western allies that would lead to victory over Nazi Germany and Japan in 1945.
As the war threatened the royal family, plans were formed for the King, Queen, and their two children to reside for the duration of the war at Hatley Castle, in Colwood, British Columbia, which the King in his federal Council had purchased for use as a royal palace. It was, however, eventually settled that morale in the United Kingdom would be seriously diminished should the King abandon the European front, and so the Royal Family would remain in London and Windsor. From there, Canada's monarch and his family engaged with Canadian militia, navy, and airmen and women; for example, Prince George visited air bases and training centres in Canada, Queen Elizabeth made an appeal to Canadian women to contribute to the war efforts, and her daughter, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) in 1940 posed for her first official Canadian portrait, with her parents visited Canadian service personnel stationed in the United Kingdom, and undertook solo duties such as reviewing a parade of Canadian airwomen in 1945. Two years following, the Princess was appointed by her father as Colonel-in-Chief of Le Régiment de la Chaudière and the 48th Highlanders of Canada, her first appointments in the Canadian military.
Canada was, however, home to a number of Europe's leaders in exile during the war. Among the royal guests, many of whom resided at Rideau Hall, were: Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway; Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Luxembourg; King Peter II of Yugoslavia; King George II of Greece; Empress Zita of Austria and her daughters; as well as Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, her daughter Princess Juliana, and granddaughters Princesses Beatrix and Irene. While in Canada, Juliana gave birth to her third daughter, Margriet at the Civic Hospital, where the delivery room was temporarily declared as extraterritorial soil to ensure that the Princess would just the Dutch nationality.
Princess Elizabeth in 1947 married the Duke of Edinburgh in a ceremony that attracted the attention of Canadians hungry for good news after the dark years of the war; the King-in-Council presented the newlyweds with a canoe. The Princess, now also Duchess of Edinburgh, came with her husband to Canada in late 1951, where, amongst other activities throughout the country, she attended her first hockey game at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, and partook in a square dance at Rideau Hall. Elizabeth also crossed into the United States to pay an official visit to President Harry S. Truman, who greeted her as a "Canadian Princess" at the reception she hosted at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. The King's health was by that time failing, and so his daughter and heir to the throne carried with her to Canada a draft accession declaration in case her father died while she was in his Canadian realm.
The King, who had suffered for some time with lung cancer, eventually failed to recover fully from a pneumonectomy and died in his sleep on 6 February 1952, at Sandringham House, while Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya. The monarch's passing was communicated via cable between the late King's Private Secretary, Alan Lascelles, and Thibaudeau Rinfret, who was acting as Administrator between the departure of Governor General the Earl of Tunis and the swearing-in of Tunis' replacement, Vincent Massey, who was in London at the time; the telegram read: "Profoundly regret to state that His Majesty King George the Sixth passed away peacefully in his sleep early this morning." Rinfret immediately issued on the same day a proclamation of the King's death and the accession of Elizabeth II as Canada's queen, making Canada the first place in which this was done; her proclamation of accession for the United Kingdom was not read out until the following day, after which the new monarch met with her British Privy Council for the first time, with Massey in attendance.
Wearing a gown by Norman Hartnell that was, along with the floral emblems of the other countries of the Commonwealth, embroidered with Canada's maple leaf in green silk and gold bullion thread veined with crystal, the Queen was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, in a ceremony that included, like the Queen's dress, Canadian symbols and participants. The prime ministers and leading citizens of Canada were present in the abbey amongst representatives of other Commonwealth and foreign states, and the ceremony was also, at the Queen's request, broadcast around the world on television; three times as the event carried on, Royal Air Force Canberra jet bombers flew film footage of the coronation to Canada for play on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, making the first ever non-stop flights between the United Kingdom and the Canadian mainland. Guests at the ceremony, television viewers, and radio listeners heard Elizabeth swear a revised Coronation Oath, wherein she reaffirmed her dedication expressed earlier in South Africa and swore to "govern the Peoples of... Canada... according to their respective laws and customs." The separate mention of Canada mirrored the granting of Royal Assent, the day previous, to the Royal Style and Titles Act, which gave Elizabeth a distinctly Canadian title.
During a tour of Canada in 1957, the Queen made her first live appearance on Canadian television, appointed her husband to her Canadian Privy Council at a meeting of which she chaired, and on 14 October opened the first session of the 23rd parliament; some 50,000 people descended on Parliament Hill to witness the arrival of the monarch, though, due to the financial austerity of the times, the pageantry was muted in comparison to what would be seen at a similar event in the United Kingdom. Elizabeth and her husband, accompanied by Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker, as the Queen's senior minister in attendance, also, on behalf of Canada, paid a state visit to the United States, attending the 350th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia and meeting with President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the White House.
Elizabeth met the President again two years later, at the official opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. As she made her way through a full tour of Canada, at the end of which she chaired a meeting in Halifax of her Canadian Privy Council and personally appointed Georges Vanier as her representative in Canada, the Queen crossed the border twice to pay a visit to the United States, stopping in Chicago and Washington. Again, Diefenbaker was her chief minister in attendance; the Prime Minister was insistent that it be made clear to Americans that Elizabeth was visiting them as the Canadian monarch and that it was "the Canadian embassy and not the British Embassy officials who are in charge" of the Queen's itinerary. In this vein, the Queen's speeches in Chicago, written by her Canadian ministers, stressed steadily the fact that she had come to call as Queen of Canada, and she hosted the return dinner for Eisenhower at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. Her Majesty also did her part to assist in entrenching the newly emerging Canadian character, ensuring that the Red Ensign (then Canada's national flag) be flown on the Royal Yacht, and she stood to attention for the duration of each playing of "O Canada", the country's then still unofficial national anthem, sometimes even joining in the singing.
What was unknown to all besides Elizabeth herself, including Diefenbaker until he was confided in at Kingston, Ontario, was that the Queen was at the time pregnant with her third child. Though her Prime Minister urged her to cut the tour short, Elizabeth swore him to secrecy and continued the journey, leaving the public announcement of the upcoming birth until she returned to London.
The 1960s was a decade of swift change in terms of both politics and technology, and Canada's monarch found herself affected by both; for instance, Elizabeth II inaugurated the first trans-Atlantic telephone cable—part of one laid to link all the Commonwealth countries—when she, at Buckingham Palace, called Prime Minister Diefenbaker, who was at the Château Laurier. However, the Queen's success in the other field was not as guaranteed; shifts were taking place in Canadian identity, due, in part, to the establishment of multiculturalism as an official policy, increased immigration from beyond the British Isles, and Quebec separatism, the latter becoming the major impetus of political controversy around the Crown.
Those involved with the Quebec sovereignty movement saw the monarchy as a symbol of federalism and/or the British aspects of Canada's history and publicly displayed their contempt for the institution on a few occasions: At the height of the Quiet Revolution, the Quebec press reported that extreme separatists were plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II during her upcoming 1964 tour of the province, as well as to kidnap Premier Jean Lesage's son, should the Queen come to Quebec. Despite fears for the monarch's safety and talk of cancelling the trip, Prime Minister Lester Pearson assured the Queen nothing much would come of the threats, the sovereign arrived as planned and, in a speech delivered to the Legislative Assembly on 10 October, in both French and English, Canada's two "complementary cultures" and the strength of Canada's two founding peoples; she stated: "I am pleased to think that there exists in our Commonwealth a country where I can express myself officially in French... Whenever you sing [the French words of] "O Canada" you are reminded that you come of a proud race." However, as her motorcade passed through Quebec City, the route was lined with Quebecers showing their backs to her; others booed her and shouted separatist slogans. Though the protesters were the minority in the crowds gathered to see the Queen (the Montreal Gazette reporting that those who opposed the visit were students numbering in the hundreds) the provincial police violently dispersed those demonstrators who took to marching through the streets following Elizabeth's address to the Legislative Assembly, arresting 36, including some who had been there to show loyalty to the Queen; the Queen's "calmness and courage in the face of the violence" was noted. Ben Pimlott wrote in his biography of Elizabeth II that "the public reaction in Quebec, and the lack of it elsewhere, led Pearson—who had initiated the visit in the first place—to warn the Queen that the Monarchy’s days in the dominion were numbered."
Despite calls by the Toronto Star for a move to a republic as a mark of Canada's centennial, Elizabeth, accompanied by Prince Philip, presided over the main celebration of the event, taking part in a ceremony on Parliament Hill and touring Expo 67, which had also been visited by her sister, Princess Margaret. Philip opened the Pan American Games in Winnipeg later in July.
A constitutional conference was held in Ottawa in February 1968, at which the delegates from Quebec indicated that a provincial president might suit the province better than the lieutenant governor, but the proposal was not accepted, the overall feeling being that the monarchy "has served us well and that its reform has no great priority in the present round of constitutional changes." Still, during constitutional talks ten years later, alterations to the Crown were put back on the table by the Cabinet of Pierre Trudeau, which proposed that the governor general be made full head of state and renamed as First Canadian. The provincial premiers, including Quebec's, reacted strongly against these suggestions.
Over the same period, references to the monarch and the monarchy were slowly removed from the public eye. For instance, while a number of royal symbols did remain, and new ones, like the Canadian Royal Standard, were created, the Queen's portrait was seen less and less in public schools, the federal government adopted a corporate identity program without royal insignia, the Royal Mail became Canada Post, and the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force were merged along with the army into the Canadian Armed Forces. Of the changes made, it was said "the Crown was to be rooted in the future, not the past; for the historic Crown with its anthem, emblems, and symbolism made accessible a past the government of the day rejected," a policy never to be discussed, either publicly or at constitutional conferences, following the rejoinder to Trudeau's 1978 constitutional amendments. John Fraser called it "the process of gradual attrition".
These moves, in combination with his cabinet's constitutional tinkering and his antics and breaches of protocol around the monarch, fostered suspicion that Trudeau harboured republican notions; it was rumoured by Paul Martin, Sr. that the Queen was worried the Crown "had little meaning for him." In response to Trudeau's attitude towards the monarchy, the Monarchist League of Canada was founded in 1970 to promote Canada's status as a constitutional monarchy.
Still, the Queen consented to allow her representatives in Canada to undertake more of her duties, and by the early 1970s it was common practice for the governor general to represent the Queen and Canada abroad on state visits. Elizabeth continued to tour the country, though, and did so a number of times during the 1970s. That which was undertaken in 1970—involving the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne—to mark the centennials of the creation of the Northwest Territories and of Manitoba was also intended, by way of the monarch's presence in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, to assert Canadian sovereignty over the north, which was then being questioned by the United States. In 1973, the Queen and Prince Philip travelled to Charlottetown to celebrate centennial of Prince Edward Island and to Regina for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. At the same time she, on Trudeau's advice, attended that year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting—the first held on Canadian soil—initiating the tradition of the monarch attending such conferences, no matter the location. Three years later, Trudeau also, at the urging of Premier of Quebec Robert Bourassa, advised the Queen to open the Olympics in Montreal, which were attended by no less than six other members of the Royal Family: the Duke of Edinburgh, Mark Phillips, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne, who competed in the games for the United Kingdom. Then, the following year, the Queen, accompanied by her husband, returned to undertake a coast-to-coast circuit marking her Silver Jubilee.
Though she decided against suggestions that she allow Prince Charles to attend university in Canada, for worry that he would be hounded by the press, in 1978 Prince Andrew was back in Canada to attend Lakefield College School for a semester, as part of a Round Square exchange programme, and he too was presented with a canoe by Her Majesty's Canadian Cabinet.
On 29 July 1981, with the required approval of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in a wedding that attracted the attention of millions of Canadians. The ceremony was attended by Governor General Edward Schreyer, and, echoing the gift presented to the Queen and Prince Philip upon their wedding in 1947, Trudeau commissioned a hand built canoe as the Cabinet's gift for the royal couple. Diana proved more popular with Canadians than the Prince of Wales; it was noted by a former member of Charles' household that during a 1983 tour of the country, when the Prince emerged from the car there would be groans, but cheers for Diana when she was seen. Charles' aunt, Princess Margaret, also received negative attention when, in 1981, her visit to the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada in Cambridge, Ontario, as their Colonel-in-Chief, was targeted by Irish nationalist protesters. At one of the ceremonies, which were boycotted by three city councillors, there was a scare when a gun barrel was thought to have been seen in the gathered crowd, but it proved to be a mistake.
At the same time, the government was approaching a final resolution on the constitutional issues of the past decades. In 1981, Paul Martin, Sr., John Roberts, and Mark MacGuigan were sent to the UK to discuss the patriation project; Martin noted that during this time the Queen had taken a great interest in the constitutional debate, and the three found the monarch "better informed on both the substance and politics of Canada's constitutional case than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats." Elizabeth continued to assist with the project until a conclusion was reached the following year, when in Ottawa on 17 April she proclaimed the Constitution Act, 1982, which, amongst other changes and additions, patriated the constitution, making it fully Canadian law, and entrenched the monarchy in Canada; any change to the position of the monarch or the viceroys thenceforth required the consent of the federal and all ten provincial legislatures. Trudeau commented in his memoirs: "I always said it was thanks to three women that we were eventually able to reform our Constitution[, including] The Queen, who was favourable... I was always impressed not only by the grace she displayed in public at all times, but by the wisdom she showed in private conversation."
However, the terms under which the constitution was patriated had not been agreed to by the Cabinet of Quebec, headed by Premier René Lévesque, a move that was viewed by Quebec sovereigntists as a betrayal. The Queen, aware this was the first time in Canadian history that a major constitutional change had been made without the agreement of the Quebec government, privately expressed to journalists her regret that Quebec was not part of the settlement.
In 1987, after the first agreements were reached among the 11 prime ministers in Canada on the Meech Lake Accord—which attempted to bring Quebec governmental support to the patriated constitution by introducing further amendments—the Queen made a rare foray into political matters when she publicly expressed on 22 and 23 October her personal support for the plan. She received criticism from opponents of the accord and Pierre Trudeau did not arrive for an official lunch with the Queen on 24 October. Also in 1987, Prince Andrew toured Canada with, for the first time, his wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, who proved popular with Canadians and relaxed among them. The royal couple spent 18 days canoeing through the Canadian north, and the Duchess later reminisced that "Canada is like my second home." She also revealed in 2009 that sometime during her marriage to the Duke of York, he had been offered the position of Governor General of Canada; the couple agreed to decline, and the Duchess of York speculated in hindsight that the choice may have ultimately been a contributing factor in their eventual divorce in 1996. The idea had also been floated that Canada abandon its status as a Commonwealth realm but retain a separate monarchy with Prince Andrew as King of Canada; this proposal, too, was never pursued.
The Queen undertook another tour of Canada in 1990, a trip originally planned around her putting the royal sign-manual to the constitutional amendment that would have implemented the Meech Lake Accord's plans, including recognising Quebec to be a distinct society. The accord, however, had failed, which inspired fears for the unity of Canada. At Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, Elizabeth addressed the crowds, stating: "It is my fondest wish... that Canadians come together and remain together... I and members of my family have been with you on many special days in the life of this country... Canada is a country that has been blessed beyond most countries in the world. It is a country worth working for."
Despite the Queen's pleas, however, nationalism in Quebec gained vigour and another referendum on departure from Canada was held in 1995. Five days before the vote, the monarch was tricked into speaking in both French and English for fourteen minutes with Pierre Brassard, a DJ for Radio CKOI-FM Montreal, who was pretending to be Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. When told that the separatists were showing a lead, the Queen revealed that she felt the "referendum may go the wrong way," adding, "if I can help in any way, I will be very happy to do so." However, she pointedly refused to accept the advice that she intervene on the issue without first seeing a draft speech sent by her prime minister. Overall, her tactful handling of the call won plaudits from the DJ who made it, and the real Chrétien later in his memoirs recounted the Queen's tongue-in-cheek comments to him regarding the affair: "'I didn't think you sounded quite like yourself,' she told me, 'but I thought, given all the duress you were under, you might have been drunk.'" On 30 October, the day of the referendum, Queen Elizabeth was on her way to a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in New Zealand and asked her pilot to remain at Los Angeles International Airport until the final tally from Quebec had been announced.
It was leaked on 18 December 1998 by Peter Donolo, press secretary to the prime minister, that staff in the Prime Minister's Office and other Liberal Party members were working on a plan to abolish the monarchy by the turn of the millennium, though this was denied by Chrétien himself, and disapproved of by the majority of incumbent provincial premiers. Save for some journalists, such as Lawrence Martin, who broke the story, the idea was also roundly denounced in the media.
The group Citizens for a Canadian Republic was formed in 2002 to promote the replacement of the constitutional monarchy with some form of republic, and attention was drawn to this cause when then Deputy Prime Minister John Manley became the first ever federal minister of the Crown to publicly support the end of the Canadian monarchy, saying in an interview that Canada should become a republic upon the demise of Queen Elizabeth II. These words came just before the Queen and her husband undertook a 12-day tour of the country to mark Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee, and thousands turned out to the various occasions. However, approximately 100 Québécois protesters were seen when the royal motorcade crossed from Ottawa into Gatineau, and Quebec Premier Bernard Landry stated that the provincial government would neither mount any celebrations of the anniversary, nor send representatives to any others, in protest of the Queen's signing of the Constitution Act, 1982.
In December the next year, after lengthy discussions between the federal government and the Acadian community, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson put her signature on the Royal Proclamation of 2003, which indicated the Crown's acknowledgement of the 1754 deportation of the Acadians and established 28 July as the Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval; While not a formal apology, the gesture quelled demands by Acadians that one be issued by the Queen.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh toured Alberta and Saskatchewan to partake in celebrations marking those provinces' centennials in 2005. The Cabinet of Alberta wished for the monarch to personally grant Royal Assent to a bill passed by the provincial legislature; however, the constitutionality of the Queen doing so was questioned, and Rideau Hall stated the Queen's personal participation in the legislative process would conflict with the federal government's policy of the Canadianization of Canada's institutions.
In 2006, Stephen Harper was appointed as Prime Minister. In his first address to parliament as head of government, Harper opened by paying tribute to the Queen and her "lifelong dedication to duty and self-sacrifice," referring to her specifically as Canada's head of state.
Prince Harry arrived in Canada to train, along with other soldiers of the Canadian and British armies, at CFB Suffield, near Medicine Hat, Alberta, for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Harry went off base during down time and journeyed to Calgary to take in the nightlife. At the same time, Harry's aunt, the Princess Royal, was in Saskatchewan meeting with family members of Saskatchewan soldiers killed in Afghanistan. This was part of a wider tour of the province that included her participation in ceremonies to mark the centennial of the Royal Regina Rifles, of which she is Colonel-in-Chief, as well as opening the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre, and meeting with First Nations elders at Government House.
Nearing the end of 2007 it was revealed that the Queen was not going to attend the festivities for the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Quebec City, to take place in 2008. The government of Quebec had requested that Ottawa make plans for the sovereign to be part of the celebration, having her follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, George V, who presided over the tercentenary celebrations of the same event in 1908. However, the federal Cabinet advised the Queen not to do, fearing her presence would provoke Quebec separatists, especially after the announcement of her possibly attending did incite separatists to promise protests.
Elizabeth became on 9 September 2015 the second-longest reigning Canadian monarch (after King Louis XIV of France), though she was still celebrated as the "longest-reigning sovereign in Canada's modern era". The Bank of Canada, Canada Post, and the Royal Canadian Mint issued a commemorative bank note, stamp, and coin, respectively. A 30-minute performance of music "reflecting Her Majesty's life and times" was played on the Peace Tower carillon on Parliament Hill. The Governor General, lieutenant governors, and territorial commissioners delivered a loyal address to the Queen.
The line of monarchs who reigned over territories that would become Canadian or over Canada itself begins approximately at the turn of the 16th century. The date of the first establishment a monarchical form of government in parts of the territory which now forms Canada varies: some sources give the year as 1497, when King Henry VII claimed parts of Newfoundland, while others put it at 1534, when New France was founded in the name of King Francis I. Monarchical governance thenceforth evolved under a continuous succession of French and British sovereigns, and eventually the legally distinct Canadian monarchy. Since John Cabot first lay claim to Canada in the name of Henry VII, there have been 33 sovereigns of Canada, including two sets of co-sovereigns.