Frequently Asked Questions

Scroll down for information on:

  • How can I obtain an official portrait of The King;
  • Writing The King and Royal Family;
  • Receiving congratulatory messages from The King;
  • Requesting Royal Patronage or the title Royal for an organization;
  • Having your organization or community included in a Royal Tour;
  • Enjoying summer employment as a Buckingham Palace Warden (tour guide);
  • Toasting The King;
  • Finding out how to contribute to the League;
  • Arranging for a Monarchist League speaker;
  • “Defender of the Faith” and the Divine Right of Kings; and
  • How a hereditary monarchy is compatible with the equality of all persons.

How can I obtain The King’s Official Canadian Portrait?

An official photographic portrait of The King of Canada is expected to become available in the next 3-5 months. Until that time, the League will continue to offer the official portrait of our Late Queen, whose cherished memory is still perfectly proper to display, just as many people do of their own departed family members. The League hopes to continue being responsible for the distribution of The King’s lithographic portrait; and we expect Canadian Heritage Department of Canadian Heritage’s website will again offer downloads of that image. We expect that a portrait of Queen Camilla will also be available. Keep an eye out for both public announcements and changes to our online the League Store offerings.

I have heard anyone can apply to be a Buckingham Palace Warden (tour guide) during the summer. Is this true? How does one go about it?

It is indeed true—and you can read a lively account of a young League member’s experiences in London on page 27 of the 2007 Autumn-Winter edition of Canadian Monarchist News, accessible in PDF format here. If interested in applying, consult details on the Royal website CAVEAT: We do not know how the extensive 5-year refurbishment of the Palace may affect this opportunity..

How can I arrange for a congratulatory message from The King?

The King is pleased to send greetings to his subjects celebrating their 60th or greater wedding anniversaries, or their 100th or greater birthdays. These may be arranged through Rideau Hall, but must be requested well in advance of the occasion. For complete information, telephone Rideau Hall at (800) 465-6890, or access the Governor General’s web site at CAVEAT: Ongoing staffing and paper supply issues at Rideau Hall have recently caused long delays in the issuance of these treasured Royal good wishes.

What do I do to obtain the title “Royal” or receive Royal Patronage for my organization?

Criteria for an organization to receive either of these marks of Royal favour, which are granted rarely, the first of which made only by The King, are spelled out in Royal Patronage. An informal inquiry could be made first of The Canadian Secretary to The King, Donald Booth, CVO, Canadian Secretary to The Queen, Privy Council Office, 14 Metcalfe St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A3. Experience shows that any request for the Royal title or The Queen’s patronage may receive more favourable consideration—though there is no guarantee of success—if a current Minister of the Crown assists in promoting it.

If a requestor or organization has an existing relationship with another member of the Royal Family, it is permissible to write directly to the private secretary concerned as to the possibility of patronage.

How do I write The King and other members of the Royal Family?

The King welcomes the frank expressions of Canadians’ concerns. These can be addressed to His Majesty through his Private Secretary, Sir Clive Alderton, KCVO, and sent to him at Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom SW1A 1AA. The correct salutation is Dear Sir Clive. Your letter can begin by asking him to share with The King or draw to his attention the contents of your communication. Such letters must bear the correct international postage for the size and weight of the letter.

Members of the Royal Family do not send autographs, or autograph pictures or other keepsakes to correspondents. If you are running a recognized charitable event, and would like to obtain such an item for an auction or similar purpose, you may write to the Private Secretary concerned, explaining in detail the nature of the charity and asking for consideration of a specific proposal for the Royal’s assistance. However, such requests are unlikely to be granted unless the Royal Family member concerned is the Patron or otherwise involved in the organization concerned.

Procedures are also in place at Rideau Hall for the delivery of correspondence from Canadians to Buckingham Palace. It is recommended that Canadians first write to Rideau Hall, rather than directly to the Palace, if the question being raised involves the provision of advice or information on the part of Rideau Hall to Palace officials (eg, requests for the use of the title Royal and Royal patronages, matters relating to official Royal Visits, requests for anniversary or birthday messages, gift offers and similar matters). The address is: Rideau Hall, 1 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1.

Canadians can write directly to other members of the Royal Family at the addresses below. The correct form of salutation for personal mail is Your Royal Highness and the customary closing is I remain, Sir (Madam), Yours sincerely, but you are of course free to write in a way that comes naturally to you.

Their addresses are:

Their Royal Highnesses
The Prince & Princess of Wales,
Adelaide Cottage, Frogmore, Windsor,
Berks. United Kingdom, S4L 2JQ

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke
& Duchess of Cambridge
Clarence House
United Kingdom SW1A 1BA

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal
Buckingham Palace
United Kingdom SW1A 1AA

Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex
Bagshot Park, Bagshot
United Kingdom GU19 5PL

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
Kensington Palace
United Kingdom W8 4PU

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent
St James’s Palace
United Kingdom SW1A 1BQ

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent
Wren House, Palace Green
United Kingdom W8 4PY

Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra,
The Honorable Lady Ogilvy
Buckingham Palace
United Kingdom SW1A 1AA

How could I arrange for a Royal Visit? What is the difference, if any, between an “official” visit and a “working” visit? Why does the Monarchist League refer to these visits as “homecomings”?

As they are constitutional figures, precedent usually requires that The King and The Prince of Wales, travel to Canada only “on advice” that is, on the responsibility of the Government of Canada, with arrangements and engagements cleared through and organized by Ottawa. When planning takes place on these occasions, the Royal concerned does express preferences and specific interests for their Canadian program; so it is never a waste of time to draw to the attention both of their private secretaries and The Canadian Secretary to The Queen (who almost invariably organizes such “official” homecomings) the interest of your organization or community in hosting a Royal, and the particular significance of what is being proposed.

The vast majority of Royal visits to Canada, however, are “working visits”, the impetus for which comes from a province, community, regiment or an organization having Royal Patronage These may receive unofficial federal support such as visa and immigration courtesies, but the responsibility and costs are solely those of the hosts. Appropriate security is always determined by the RCMP, which bears all related expenses.

Onto such visits—and quite frankly, to share the significant costs associated with them—the principal host organization frequently grafts a variety of other engagements for worthy organizations not necessarily previously associated with the Royal Family member concerned. Corresponding well in advance with both the private secretary involved and principal host organizations is the most efficient way of arranging for your own organization’s consideration to form part of the itinerary. Specific requests, a clear timeline and evident experience/ability in executing events are always a plus when plans are considered.

The Monarchist League refers to all Royal Visits to Canada as “homecomings” because Royals return to Canada not as British or Commonwealth figures, but as members of the Canadian Royal Family, equally at home here as they are in Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, or any other of the 15 Realms of which The King is Sovereign. As The Queen remarked to President Reagan in 1983 as she prepared to leave California for British Columbia: “I am going home to Canada tomorrow”. Additionally, when Elizabeth II concluded her 2010 homecoming with a journey to New York City to address the United Nations, she pointed out that “I shall be traveling from this Northern Realm as Queen of Canada”.

What is the correct procedure for toasting The King? Is it appropriate to toast The King only on formal occasions? Do we have to use alcohol for the Loyal Toast?

It is customary to toast The King at public luncheons and dinners as well as at other occasions such as mess dinners and club functions. The Loyal Toast, as it is most correctly called, is always the first (or only) toast proposed, usually after dessert has been served, although modern custom also permits it to follow the main course.

In a formal setting, the person offering the Toast invites the guests to charge their glasses and be upstanding, and then proposes the Toast in the following terms, in either or both of the Official Languages, “Ladies and Gentleman, The King,” or “Ladies and Gentleman, The King of Canada”. Those present raise their glasses and then consume a small portion of their contents—the use of alcohol is optional. Many loyal subjects then choose to utter the loving phrase “God Bless Him” before they resume their seats.

It is also perfectly correct to toast The King at informal gatherings and family meals, especially on Royal anniversaries and Royal events, and national holidays. At these sorts of occasions, especially when young people or new Canadians are present, it is often customary for the proposer to say a few words about the special nature of the event and why it is appropriate to toast The King, and only then ask everyone at the table to stand. Children brought up to be able to propose such a toast learn not only a good lesson in Canadian civics but also a valuable social skill.

Is the League a charitable organization? Are my donations tax-deductible?

Unfortunately, donations made to the Monarchist League of Canada are not considered tax-deductible by Canada Revenue Agency. As the League does not accept any public subsidies, it relies entirely on the generosity of its members across Canada in order to accomplish its programs.

How do I arrange for a League speaker to address my club or organization?

The League is fortunate to have access to experts on many aspects of the Canadian Crown who are delighted to address interested audiences, often at no cost except for transportation and related expenses, when required. Please direct such requests to the Dominion Office, which will put you in touch with the most appropriate potential speaker.

Why did Elizabeth II have the title “Defender of the Faith” in Canada when we don’t have a state religion? Does this have anything to do with the Divine Right of Kings?

At this writing, we do not know if, and when, a new Royal Style and Titles Act, or amendments to the existing Act, may be introduced by the Government of Canada. The information that follows is accurate until this situation is clarified.

When our Late Queen came to the Throne in 1952, each of her Realms (the countries of which she is Sovereign) adopted its own formula to refer to The Queen in a legal, formal way.

For Canada, this title runs as follows:

Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

Moving passage of the Royal Style and Titles Act in Canada’s Parliament on 3rd February 1953, Prime Minister Louis St Laurent explained why the term Defender of the Faith was retained:

In our countries [Canada and the other non-British monarchies of the Commonwealth] there are no established churches, but in our countries there are people who have faith in the direction of human affairs by an all-wise Providence; and we felt that it was a good thing that the civil authorities would proclaim that their organization is such that it is a defence of the continued beliefs in a supreme power that orders the affairs of mere men, and that there could be no reasonable objection from anyone who believed in the Supreme Being in having the sovereign, the head of the civil authority, described as a believer in and a defender of the faith in a supreme ruler.

Contrary to the mistaken view sometimes repeated by the media, Elizabeth II of Canada—who personally was both Anglican (in England) and Presbyterian (in Scotland), two nations having an official state religion—was not in any way an official or representative of the Anglican Church of Canada. It is in fact the Canadian Crown that guarantees all citizens the right to worship God in their own way, or not to do so at all. Canada’s King Charles, when Prince of Wales, mused aloud that as monarch he would like to make the role of the Crown in defending that freedom more explicit, and so be called “Defender of Faith”.

What is the difference between a Queen Regnant and Queen Consort?

Our Late Queen, Elizabeth II, was the Sovereign of Canada, who occupies the Throne in her own right, and was the personification of the Canadian State. Thus she was a reigning monarch or Queen Regnant, to use a legalistic term. A Queen Consort, on the other hand, is the spouse of a reigning King. She has the title of Queen out of courtesy and as acknowledgement of the many important ways in which she supports the King. However she has no legal role and does not share or exercise any of the powers of the monarch. Many Canadians will remember a greatly-loved Queen Consort, Queen Elizabeth – who on the death of King George VI became known as the Queen Mother. In war as in peace, the late Queen served the KIng and his peoples with devotion and grace. However, during that time she was Queen Consort, not a reigning queen.

Why do you refer to Royal tours as “homecomings”?

Canada is a Realm, one of 15 Commonwealth countries with The King as head of state and head of the nation. Members of the Royal Family do not come to Canada as distinguished visitors from foreign lands, in the way we might welcome President Biden, the Pope or King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Rather, they return here as part of our national family, whose members have served Canada continuously since Confederation and before. There is nothing wrong with the term “Royal Tour”, but we think it is important to underline how the Royals have a special role in Canada in the same way as they are held in a special part of Canadians’ affections.

The King is an hereditary monarch; I don’t believe in that. Nobody is born better than anybody else, because in Canada we believe that everyone is created equal. We don’t believe in inherited rights.

The King is not better than anyone else, and no credible authority would endorse such a view. However, constitutional monarchs such as Canada’s are born to serve, in a life of service. Unlike many, they have no choice in their destiny. One might think of this as a sacrifice rather than a privilege. Every word uttered, every action taken or not, and, trivially but truly, every nuance of dress or expression will be photographed, circulated around the world and commented upon—often inaccurately and sometimes cruelly—for an entire lifetime. In this sense we might admire rather than deprecate the hereditary tradition of the Crown.

At the same time, accompanying this inevitable destiny is another reality: training from shortly after birth to meet the duties and expectations of the sovereign’s role. Many others receive a very general education, then subsequently perhaps choose some specialties to study and yet very often end up following an occupation quite different than anything that had imagined or been trained for. Monarchs have the advantage of long-term preparation to do their best in a demanding task.

It is true that some of our fellow citizens will always resent an hereditary monarch, whether for their inherited privilege or for other reasons—but then, the popularity figures for elected prime ministers and presidents usually run 20 or more points below that of our King—not a bad result in a critical, media-driven world. Nobody pretends that the hereditary principle will guarantee great monarchs. However, the Canadian experience in the nearly 150 years since Confederation suggests that it remains the best way we have to ensure impartiality at the apex of today’s constitutional arrangements, which Canadians chose to reaffirm in 1982, whereby we permanently lend our power to the sovereign to exercise for on our behalf.

A very compelling summary defence of the hereditary principle has been made by French Canadian historian and educator, Fr Jacques Monet, SJ in his article “The Canadian Monarchy” which was included in The West and the Nation: Essays in Honour of W. L. Morton:

A king is a king, not because he is rich and powerful, not because he is a successful politician, not because he belongs to a particular creed or to a national group. He is King because he is born. And in choosing to leave the selection of their head of state to this most common denominator in the world—the accident of birth—Canadians implicitly proclaim their faith in human equality; their hope for the triumph of nature over political manoeuvre, over social and financial interest; for the victory of the human person.

Some people bow and curtsey to members of the Royal Family, while others do not? Which is right?

First, it should be clear that, like salutes in the Canadian Forces, bows and curtseys are marks of respect to His Majesty The King whom members of the Royal Family represent as they carry out as engagements throughout the world. In our own upbringings and families, as in those of our friends and neighbours, there is a wide variety of behaviours and greetings. Some folk are tactile and quick to hug and embrace; others are more formal and reserved – each does what seems natural. Neither is right nor wrong. The same is true for what constitutes good manners. Our Late Queen made it clear some time ago that any requirement for bows and curtseys no longer exists. Many Canadians, however, choose to make this very special acknowledgement of affection and respect because of their great respect for the The King as head of our nation and example of service and dedication. One might compare it to standing for the National Anthem, a man’s removing his hat as the Flag goes by or in the presence of a coffin, or a congregant genuflecting or bowing in church, temple, or mosque. No law requires such behaviour; however many choose to show respect through such gestures, as we saw in the spontaneous and deeply personal bows, curtseys and other such marks of respect that were paid by members of the public as they passed by Elizabeth’s Catafalque during the Lying-in-State at Westminster Hall.