April 21, 1947, was a historical day when Princess Elizabeth pledged her life to the service of the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday. The Princess was on a tour of South Africa with her parents and younger sister. She began her speech by saying, “On my twenty-first birthday I welcome the opportunity to speak to all the peoples of the British Commonwealth and Empire, wherever they live, whatever race they come from, and whatever language they speak…” But, the most famous part of her speech which has been played repeatedly over the years was when she said, “I should like to make this dedication now. It is very simple. I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong…”
As it has been stated in several articles and documentaries over the years, the young Princess was unaware that her life of service would begin at such an early age. With the passing of her father King George VI on February 6, 1952; Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 25. Her coronation was held on June 2, 1953.
Since becoming Queen Elizabeth the Second she had remained steadfast in her oath. She had diligently fulfilled her duties and service to her people carrying out hundreds of duties per year, and touring the Commonwealth; which has included 22 official visits to Canada since her ascension to the throne in 1952. The first visit to Canada was in 1957 with the last in 2010. She had visited Alberta six times during her reign with the final visit being in 2005.
On the morning of September 8, Queen Elizabeth was put under medical supervision and her family rushed to her bedside. By late afternoon, Buckingham Palace in keeping with tradition for all royal announcements posted the plaque on the gates of Buckingham Palace announcing the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The announcement read, “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon...” The world was in shock as just two days prior the Queen had appointed Liz Truss as her 15th Prime Minister from Balmoral.
As the news of Her Majesty’s passing spread around the world, many politicians expressed their thoughts and sorrows and took time to reflect on the Queen’s seven-decade reign, including members from Canada as she was the country’s head of state.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke from Vancouver expressing his deep sorrow, “She was one of my most favourite people and I will miss her so,” commented Prime Minister Trudeau. He also commented how Queen Elizabeth II was Canada’s Queen for almost half of its existence. Trudeau spoke of the Queen’s devotion to her service. “She had an obviously deep and abiding love and affection for Canadians. She served us all with strength and wisdom for 70 years.” He commented that “She was thoughtful, wise, curious, helpful, funny, and so much more. In a complicated world, her steady grace and resolve brought comfort and strength to us all.” With many Canadians today mourning the loss of Her Majesty the Queen Trudeau echoed the sentiment by saying, “Canada is in mourning.”
In a heartfelt speech Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon addressed the death of the Queen with a personal sentiment, “When I was growing up, my grandmother revered The Queen, as did so many in the Arctic. She would tell us stories about Her Majesty, her role, and her commitment. Her Majesty’s warm welcome when we spent time with her earlier this year was a profound moment in our lives and a memory we will cherish forever.”
“I join Albertans, Canadians, and the peoples of the Commonwealth in deepest grief and sorrow at the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” stated Premier Jason Kenney. Kenney echoed the sentiment of so many other leaders by saying that the Canadian Monarch was for us a bedrock of stability and continuity. He went on to speak of how “Her late Majesty gave her whole life in service to her people and to the institutions that are the safeguards of our parliamentary democracy and liberties.” He commented on the Queen’s many visits to Alberta and how she demonstrated her deep affection for this place and its people, and that her name will live on forever in our schools and streets, roadways and buildings...” Kenney ended his statement by thanking Her Majesty for her years of service and sent condolences to the Royal Family.
On a municipal level, The Town of Vermilion Mayor Greg Thronsdon released a statement on Friday, September 9th expressing sadness in learning of the Monarch’s passing.
“We were saddened to hear the news of Her Majesty’s passing on Thursday, she reigned with grace, compassion, and an unwavering sense of duty. We will fondly remember her as a dignified global leader and committed public servant,” said Mayor Throndson. “The Town of Vermilion offers our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, the people of the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth as a whole. The Town of Vermilion’s flags will be at half-mast from now until sunset on the day of the memorial service of Her Majesty the Queen,” the press release stated.
Mayor for the City of Lloydminster also released a statement regarding the Queen’s passing and said, “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada. She has been a constant presence in our lives for seven decades.
Since proclaimed Queen throughout the Commonwealth in February 1952, she has exhibited exemplary selflessness in her dedication to duty. May we always remember the impact The Queen had on our daily lives and the richness she brought to the world.
As a community, we mourn with all Canadians and the Commonwealth and extend our deepest condolences to The Royal Family during their time of grieving.”
Upon the Queen’s passing Charles Prince of Wales ascended to the throne and has taken the sovereign title King Charles III, and his wife, Camilla, will be known as the queen consort. Great Britain has a new King and the Commonwealth has a new head. On Saturday, September 10, Canada proclaimed King Charles III to be its new Sovereign.
Due to protocols surrounding the Conservative Leadership race Vermiion-Lloydminster- Wainwright MLA Garth Rowswell was unable to comment, however on Sunday after the Leader for the party was voted in he released a statement saying, “Condolences on the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. This is a sad moment for the UK, the Commonwealth and indeed the world.
Her Majesty was a fixed point of constancy and the exemplar of duty and service.
In a speech she gave on the evening of her coronation the Queen said, “I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
Her Majesty kept that promise for 70 memorable years.
On behalf of the people of the Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright riding. I convey my deepest condolences to the Royal Family. God Save The King.”
The Government of Alberta has established a digital condolence book for Albertans to sign online.
Alternatively, select provincial buildings — such as the Legislature — and participating MLA offices will have physical books for the public to sign.