I was born the day Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne as Queen of Canada and, so like many, I have known no other monarch. Until now. In my school I remember a picture high above the blackboard of this young woman, staring down at us as we recited our times tables or when the teacher conducted a spelling bee.
One of the distinctive things I really remember was, in a class with 15 girl students seven were named Elizabeth, in some form. Our teacher had to call to them by their last names to distinguish to whom she was talking.
I remember listening to CBC radio broadcasting my first Christmas message. The Queen’s impeccable French made her, rightfully so, as much beloved by French and English-speaking Canadians alike.
My visits to the UK always coincided with a significant Royal event, such as the Silver Jubilee or the marriage of the then Prince Charles to the Lady Diana Spencer. Then, in 2010, the Vancouver-Whistler Winter Olympic games attended by HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal. I got to meet Prince Harry at the Commonwealth Games, who’s love of his grandmother evidently shone through.
Queen Elizabeth was the epitomé of dignity and humbleness. It made me proud that I could count on her to say just the right thing to elevate a public event. Even as the role of the monarchy has diminished in parts of Canada no one, ever, said a bad word about the reigning monarch. Most of the insults were aimed at her children
My heart is filled with both thanks for all that she gave to keep this Commonwealth country a little more stable than it otherwise would have been. I am also saddened in spirit that we’ll never see her likes ever again. She’ll be a warm memory for the rest of my life.
Rest in Peace. Reposez en paix.