Long lived the queen

To call the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 a ‘shock’ might seem a bit odd.

After all, approaching her centennial birthday, it was inevitable that her time on earth grew short. And yet somehow it seemed like she’d always be there, a permanent fixture ruling over England and by extension, Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth.

Lending some credence to that notion was that for a certain generation of Canadians, she was the only Queen they’ve ever known. Further adding to that premise was the fact for the last quarter-century she seemed to have somehow stopped aging, always remaining the same regal figure.

Her Majesty’s reign spanned 70 years, starting in 1952 until last Thursday when she passed at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle. That covers a large portion of most Canadian’s lives so for the vast majority the notion of a king (or anyone else at all) ruling is a foreign one. Queen Elizabeth has always been there and it just seemed like she always would be.

For those who follow the royal family her passing was like a death in their own family. Though in many ways Canada has gradually grown apart from its Commonwealth roots during her reign, there is still a large part of the population who respect that tradition and want to see it remain. Canada is a relatively young country on the world stage-even much more so when Queen Elizabeth took over as queen. As our nation began to forge its own identity, some distance was placed between Queen Elizabeth, and ourselves who became affectionately known as Canada’s grandmother in some circles.

Leafing through old editions of the Napanee Beaver it becomes clear just how much the queen has meant to Canada over the decades, in particular the Lennox and Addington region with its many Loyalist roots. Her coronation in 1953 was a major event in these parts, warranting an entire special section of the newspaper. The front page of the last Beaver published before her June 2, 1953 coronation stated Long May She Reign. After 70 years, it’s fair to say she did just that. Any royal visit was discussed months in advance with major preparations made to welcome the royal family. Residents gathered by the thousands in 1984 to watch Queen Elizabeth cut the ribbon to formally open the stretch of Highway 33 known today as the Loyalist Parkway.

Unfortunately for the royal family, most of the recent headlines in which they appear have been less than flattering, particularly those focused on family squabbles and Prince Harry and wife Megan Markle’s very public exit of their royal duties. Through it all however whenever the Queen spoke, a number of Canadians were willing to listen, many looking forward to her annual addresses.

Though the British Monarch’s actual impact on how Canada is governed has waned significantly, there is still the ceremonial aspect and it will forever be a part of our history.

As the world bids farewell to one of its more recognizable figures, we too offer our condolences.

Long May She Reign, indeed.

-Adam Prudhomme

error: Content is protected !!