queencanada The Queen & the Duke of Edinburgh

The Queen & the Duke of Edinburgh

Canada's Queen

As Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II embodies the Canadian state. She is the source of law, the principal guardian of the constitution, the "fount of honour", the focus of allegiance and the personification of "a life consecrated to service" (Christopher Plummer, speaking on Parliament Hill, Canada Day, 2010). A biography of The Queen is available on the Canadian Heritage website here, and more information about her life and activities throughout the Commonwealth can be found on our links page. This article simply lists some of the significant events highlighting her continuous involvement with Canadians during her reign of over 62 years.

A complete record of The Queen’s Canadian homecomings together with much other information about our monarchy, including a list of organizations granted Royal Patronage and the designation "Royal", may be found at the Canadian Heritage website here.

The Queen's Canadian military Appointments

Reflecting her role as Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, The Queen holds the following honorary appointments as Colonel-in-Chief, except where noted:

  • The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s)
  • The Calgary Highlanders
  • The Canadian Grenadier Guards
  • The Canadian Armed Forces’ Legal Branch
  • The Canadian Military Engineers
  • The 48th Highlanders of Canada
  • The Governor General’s Foot Guards
  • The Governor General’s Horse Guards
  • The King’s Own Calgary Regiment
  • Le Régiment de la Chaudière
  • The Rocky Mountain Rangers
  • The Royal New Brunswick Regiment
  • The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (as Captain General)
  • The Royal 22e Régiment ("The Van Doos")

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Portrait

Some Canadian Highlights of the Reign


1953 - "Queen of Canada"

  • The Royal Style and Titles Act is passed by Parliament, making Elizabeth II officially "Queen of Canada"



  • The Queen opens her Parliament in Ottawa


1959 - The St. Lawrence Seaway

  • The Queen of Canada travels to the United States of America, where she opens the St. Lawrence Seaway together with President Eisenhower during a 45-day tour of all 12 provinces and territories


1964 - Centenary of Confederation Conferences

  • The Queen attends events in Charlottetown and Québec City to mark the centenary of the conferences leading to Confederation in 1867


1967 - Canada's Centenary

  • The Queen celebrates Canada’s centenary by visiting Ottawa and Expo 67, the World’s Fair, held in Montréal



  • The Queen begins her custom of visiting provinces marking their centenary within Confederation: Manitoba in 1970 (together with the centenary of the Northwest Territories); British Columbia in 1971; Prince Edward Island in 1973 (together with the 300th anniversary of the founding of Kingston, Ontario, and the centennial celebrations of the RCMP); Saskatchewan and Alberta in 2005


1973 - Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

  • Receiving guests while in residence at Rideau Hall, The Queen presides at the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Ottawa


1976 - Montréal Olympics

  • The Queen declares open the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal; with Prince Philip and her children, she supports Princess Anne as she competes in Olympic equestrian events at Bromont, Québec


1977 - Silver Jubilee

  • Canada’s monarch celebrates her Silver Jubilee by opening Parliament and visiting the National Capital Region


1978 - Commonwealth Games, Edmonton

  • The Queen declares open the 11th Commonwealth Games in Edmonton in the course of a 12-day homecoming


1982 - Constitution Act

  • The Queen proclaims the patriated Constitution of Canada in a ceremony held on Parliament Hill



  • While visiting the United States, The Queen informs President Reagan that "I am going home to Canada tomorrow", subsequently making a four-day homecoming to British Columbia


1984 - New Brunswick and Ontario Bicentenaries

  • Canada’s Sovereign celebrates the bicentenaries of the founding of New Brunswick and Ontario in the course of a 13-day homecoming


1987 - Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

  • During a 16-day homecoming, The Queen presides over the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Victoria


1992 - 125th Anniversary of Confederation

  • The Queen celebrates the 125th Anniversary of Confederation by presiding at Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill


1994 - Canadian D-Day Commemorations

  • As Canada’s monarch, The Queen presides at Canadian D-Day commemorations in France. During a 10-day homecoming, she declares open the 15th Commonwealth Games in Victoria. Accompanied by her Canadian prime minister, she dedicates the Canada Memorial, honouring the fallen of both World Wars, at Green Park, London



  • In the course of a 10-day homecoming, The Queen attends the 500th anniversary landing re-enactment of the Matthew, at Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador


2002 - Golden Jubilee

  • The Queen celebrates the Golden Jubilee with a homecoming to the five regions of Canada


2004 - 60th Anniversary of D-Day

  • As Queen of Canada, the Sovereign attends the Canadian commemoration service marking the 60th anniversary of D-Day, at Juno Beach, Courseulles-sur-Mer, France


2007 - Re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial

  • Visiting France as Canada’s Sovereign, The Queen re-dedicates the Vimy Memorial


2010 - Canada Day Ceremonies

  • Unprecedented numbers of Canadians hail their Queen as she presides for the fifth time at Canada Day ceremonies on Parliament Hill during a 10-day homecoming


2015 - Re-opens Canadian High Commission

  • The Queen re-opens the Canadian High Commission, London
  • The Queen creates the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers


Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh supported the work of The Queen in her Canadian Realm since their marriage in November of 1947 until his much-lamented death in 2021. Philip accompanied Her Majesty on most of her Canadian homecomings, but also made a number of tours on his own, reflecting his many patronages and involvements in our country, which includes the support of over 40 organizations ranging from the College of Family Physicians of Canada to Outward Bound Trust-Canada.

Notable among these commitments was The Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Canada. Founded in 1956, and established in Canada in 1962, the Award Scheme has since spread to 140 countries and some eight million participants, with the aim of encouraging personal development and community involvement amongst young people. Over 44,000 Canadian youth participated in the Award in 2015. HRH the Duke personally presented many of the Gold Award certificates (the highest of three levels of achievement) in his role as Patron and Chairman of Trustees. HRH gradually turned over many responsibilities in the Award to his third son, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, who in the fullness of time will succeed to his father's dukedom..

Prince Philip's Canadian Military Appointments

Prince Phillip also maintained a significant involvement with the Canadian Forces. These included his appointments as Honorary Admiral and General, and his serving as Colonel-in-Chief of the following units, which will in due time receive new appointments:

  • The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa - Duke of Edinburgh's Own
  • The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada
  • The Royal Canadian Army Cadets
  • The Royal Canadian Regiment
  • The Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment)
  • The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada

Prince Philip as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Regiment

The Duke's final return to Canada came during a whirlwind 24 hours in Toronto on April 26-27, 2013. At 91, HRH was hailed by enthusiastic crowds as he led commemorations of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with his Royal Canadian Regiment. During the visit, the Governor General of Canada presented him with Canada's highest honours, those of Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada and Companion of the Order of Military Merit.

Outspoken - as was his disposition throughout the Reign - two of Prince Philip's most notable interventions in Canadian life centered on health and the place of the Monarchy. During an extensive homecoming in 1959 in which he joined The Queen, the Duke addressed the Canadian Medical Association in Toronto, Anticipating the fitness craze by about a decade, HRH encouraged better health amongst young people by "proper physical education in schools, adequate recreational facilities..." with implied criticism that not all agreed with at the time.

More controversial were the Duke's comments at an Ottawa press conference in 1969, a time when the place of the monarchy was perhaps most under threat in Canada:

The monarchy exists in Canada for historical reasons and it exists in the sense that it is of benefit, to the country or to the nation. If at any stage any nation decides that the system is unacceptable then it's up to them to change it. I think it's a complete misconception to imagine that the Monarchy exists in the interests of the Monarch - it doesn't. It exists in the interests of the people: in a sense - we don't come here for our health, so to speak. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves...

Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh
Ottawa, 1969

The remarks caused a typical flap but later, as The Canadian Encyclopedia reflects, came to be seen as encouraging open discussion about the Monarchy's future in Canada.


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