Canadian Royal Heritage Trust

A National Educational Charity

Facts About Canada’s Monarchy

by Arthur Bousfield and Garry Toffoli



The Canadian Constitution derives from the Queen. The Constitution declares the existence and continuation of the office of Queen but does not presume to create it. The origins of that ancient office lie with the Anglo-Saxon chieftains of Germany in the 4th century or earlier.

Key sections of the written part of the Canadian Constitution relating to the Monarchy:

The Executive Government and authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.

The Constitution Act 1867 [formerly the British North America Act], Section 9

An amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to the following matters may be made … only where authorised by resolutions of the Senate and House of Commons and of the legislative assembly of each province.

the office of the Queen, the Governor-General and the lieutenant-governor of a province.

The Constitution Act 1982, Section 40



Some writers have called the Crown in Canada “a team of governors”, “the collective Crown” or “the eleven Crowns”. Such terms are merely theories about how the powers of the Crown are exercised. There can be no doubt about what the Crown actually is because there is a Canadian statute which defines it:

“Her Majesty”, “His Majesty”, “the Queen”, “the King”, or “the Crown” means the Sovereign of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her Other Realms and Territories, and Head of the Commonwealth.

The Interpretation Act ( Canada) 1985



Now Know Ye that by and with the advice of our Privy Council for Canada We do by this Our Royal Proclamation establish for Canada Our Royal Style and Titles as follows, namely in the English language:

“ Elizabeth the Second, 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”

And in the French language:

“Elizabeth Deux, par la grâce de Dieu, Reine du Royaume-uni, du Canada et de ses autres royaumes et territoires, Chef du Commonwealth, Défenseur de la Foi

… Given the Twenty-eighth day of May in the Year of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and fifty-three in the Second Year of Our Reign.

Proclamation of the Canadian Royal Style and Titles as provided by Act of the Parliament of Canada 1953



The question then arose whether it would be proper to have in the title we would use [for Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada], the traditional words, by the grace of God, sovereign. We felt that our people did recognise that the affairs of this world were not determined exclusively by the volition of men and women; that they were determined by men and women as agents for a supreme authority; and that it was by the grace of that supreme authority that we were privileged to have such a person as our sovereign. Then perhaps the rather more delicate question arose about the retention of the words defender of the faith. In England there is an established church. In our countries [the other 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 organisation 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.

Speech by Louis St Laurent, Prime Minister of Canada, in the House of Commons, 1953



Granted to identify federal public authority, the Arms of Canada assigned [by King George V] in 1921 evolved in their significance as the federal authority evolved with the gradual constitutional developments of the period. Following the Statute of Westminster [1931] and the formal recognition of Canada as a sovereign state, the arms became the expression of this characteristic and so arms of supreme rule, that is to say of dominion and of self-determination, that is to say of sovereignty. In other words, they had become royal arms of dominion and sovereignty as borne by the sovereign in right of Canada.

Canada: Symbols of Sovereignty, Conrad Swan, 1977, p.8



The Queen’s personal flag, its design based on her Canadian coat-of-arms, indicates Her Majesty’s actual presence, and is flown at Government House, from the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, from automobiles, aircraft and other vehicles, from saluting bases and in other appropriate circumstances. It takes precedence over all other flags.  Personal flags have also been officially assigned to and used by HRH The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge.



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.

Revd Fr Jacques Monet, s.j., Canadian historian



In 1272 Edward I (ancestor of both Henry VII and François I) was absent in Palestine when his father died. To avoid chaos his council proclaimed him King immediately and since then the law has been that the Crown never dies. “The King is dead, long live the King!” Prior to 1272, a king only became king at his coronation and, in the period between the death of one monarch and the coronation of the next, there was no king. The Crown had been hereditary in a family since the days of the early Saxon tribal rulers (before A.D. 450) but the succession was different from today’s. Our present-day rule of succession is a kind of middle way compared to other practices such as that of the French line of kings, where females were excluded, or that of the Pictish kings of Scotland, where only males succeeded but succession was matrilinear, i.e. through the female line. After an earlier unsuccessful attempt in 1135, women of the Royal Family established their right to succeed to the Throne in 1553 with Queen Mary I (more than 400 years before women could independently hold property in law!) The succession has also occasionally been interrupted by the defeat and death of a monarch in battle (as when Henry VII seized the throne from Richard III in 1485) or the conquest of the kingdom (as when the Sovereign Prince of Orange, William III, seized the Throne from his father-in-law James II in 1688). In 1936 the succession was altered by Act of Parliament to permit the abdication of Edward VIII. The heir to the Throne does not have to reach a particular age to be monarch but can succeed at birth should the reigning monarch happen to die at that time. Actual succession has not been strictly by order of birth because although older children have succeeded before younger, males have succeeded before females. Daughters and children of daughters, however, succeeded before males in collateral branches. In 1701 the monarch’s subjects in parliament imposed the restriction that the ruler could not be a Catholic or married to a Catholic. At the October 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting it was agreed to change the laws of succession to provide for the eldest child, regardless of sex, to succeed and to drop the restriction agains marrying a Catholic.  The legal processes to implement these changes are proceeding in 2013.



Under normal conditions the hereditary factor is the sole one governing the succession. Because the Crown descends in a family, it is almost impossible for there not to be a successor to it. Among the first 100 in the order of succession are such diverse individuals as Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway, Princess Margarita of Romania, Prince Peter of Serbia and Grand Duchess Maria of Russia. The descendants of King George V (who became the first official Canadian in international law in 1931) in the order of succession (as of February 2013) are listed below. Since the Act of Succession, 1701, regulating succession to the Crown, applies only to the Sovereign and the Sovereign’s immediate heir, no person has been omitted from the following list because of being a Catholic or marrying a Catholic.  The latter restriction is being removed in 2013.


HRH The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales – son of Queen Elizabeth II

HRH Prince William of Wales – grandson of Queen Elizabeth II

HRH Prince Henry of Wales – grandson of Queen Elizabeth II

HRH The Prince Andrew, Duke of York – son of Queen Elizabeth II

HRH Princess Beatrice of York – granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II

HRH Princess Eugenie of York – granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II

HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex – son of Queen Elizabeth II

James, Viscount Severn – grandson of Queen Elizabeth II

Lady Louisa Windsor – granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II

HRH The Princess Anne, Princess Royal – daughter of Queen Elizabeth II

Mr Peter Phillips – grandson of Queen Elizabeth II

Miss Savannah Phillips – great-granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II

Miss Isla Phillips – great-granddaugher of Queen Elizabeth II

Zara, Mrs Michael Tindall – granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II

David [Armstrong-Jones], Viscount Linley – grandson of King George VI

Hon. Charles Armstrong-Jones – great-grandson of King George VI

Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones – great-granddaughter of King George VI

Lady Sarah Chatto – granddaughter of King George VI

Master Samuel Chatto – great-grandson of King George VI

Master Arthur Chatto – great-grandson of King George VI

HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester – grandson of King George V

Alexander [ Windsor], Earl of Ulster – great-grandson of King George V

Xan [Windsor], Baron Culloden – great-great-grandson of King George V

Lady Cosima Windsor – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Lady Davina Lewis – great-granddaughter of King George V

Master Tane Lewis – great-great-grandson of King George V

Miss Senna Lewis – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Lady Rose Gilman – great-granddaughter of King George V

Master Rufus Gilman – great-great-grandson of King George V

Miss Lyla Gilman – great-great-grandson of King George V

HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent – grandson of King George V

George [ Windsor], Earl of St Andrews **– great-grandson of King George V

Edward [ Windsor], Baron Downpatrick * – great-great-grandson of King George V

Lady Marina Windsor * – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Lady Amelia Windsor – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Lord Nicholas Windsor * – great-grandson of King George V

Master Albert Windsor * – great-great-grandson of King George V

Master Leopold Windsor * – great-great-grandson of King George V

Lady Helen Taylor – great-granddaughter of King George V

Master Columbus Taylor – great-great-grandson of King George V

Master Cassius Taylor – great-great-grandson of King George V

Miss Eloise Taylor – great- great-granddaughter of King George V

Miss Estela Taylor – great-great-granddaugher of King George V

HRH Prince Michael of Kent ** – grandson of King George V

Lord Frederick Windsor – great-grandson of King George V

Lady Gabriella Windsor – great-granddaughter of King George V

HRH Princess Alexandra, Hon. Lady Ogilvy – granddaughter of King George V

Mr James Ogilvy – great-grandson of King George V

Master Alexander Ogilvy – great-great-grandson of King George V

Miss Flora Ogilvy – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Ms Marina Ogilvy – great-granddaughter of King George V

Master Christian Mowatt – great-great-grandson of King George V

Miss Zenouska Mowatt – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

David [Lascelles], Earl of Harewood – great-grandson of King George V

Alexander, Viscount Lascelles – great-great-grandson of King George V

Hon. Edward Lascelles – great-great-grandson of King George V

Hon. James Lascelles – great-grandson of King George V

Rowan Lascelles – great-great-grandson of King George V

Tewa Lascelles – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Sophie Lascelles – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Hon. Jeremy Lascelles – great-grandson of King George V

Thomas Lascelles – great-great-grandson of King George V

Ellen Lascelles – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Amy Lascelles – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Tallulah Lascelles – great-great-granddaughter of King George V

Henry Lascelles – great-grandson of King George V

Maximilian Lascelles – great-great-grandson of King George V


* Catholic; ** Married to a Catholic



The ancestors of Queen Elizabeth II form a multicultural panorama. At least 40 different ethnic, historic or religious groups can be identified among them, including peoples of Asia and Africa, as well as of Europe and the Ancient World. Her Majesty possesses Jewish and Muslim as well as Christian forebears and she is descended from the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan, among many other historical figures. At the time of her 1986 visit to China, articles in Chinese publications also asserted that she was descended from the Tang dynasty of Chinese Emperors. Only a royal family can connect its people with the mainstream of history in this direct and tangible way. As a shared monarch the Queen is certainly living proof of how racial differences can be bridged, for Her Majesty is both Queen of Canada – a racially mixed but majority white society – and Queen of Jamaica – a racially mixed but majority black country.



An indication of how the Fathers of Confederation wished the Monarchy to work in Canada is provided by the Confederation Debates in which the principles underlying the Canadian state were discussed. It was stated in these debates that the government was “to be administered … by the Sovereign personally or by the Representative of the Sovereign duly authorised”.

The Provisions of this Act referring to the Governor-General extend and apply to the Governor-General of the Time being of Canada, or other the Chief Executive Officer or Administrator for the Time Being carrying on the Government of Canada on behalf and in the Name of the Queen, by whatever title he is designated.

The Constitution Act 1867 [formerly the British North America Act], Section 10

We do, by this Our Commission under the Great Seal of Canada, appoint [name of person] to be, during Our Pleasure, Our Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over Canada, with all the powers, rights, privileges and advantages belonging or appertaining to the office.

Warrant of Queen Elizabeth II appointing the Governor-General of Canada

And we do hereby authorise and empower Our Governor-General, with the advice of Our Privy Council for Canada or of any members thereof or individually, as the case requires, to exercise all powers and authorities lawfully belonging to Us in respect of Canada.

Letters Patent of King George VI constituting to office of Governor-General, 8 th September 1947

While allowing the Sovereign’s Representative to exercise all the Sovereign’s powers, the Letters Patent of 1947 do not in any way mean that those powers are not also exercisable by the Sovereign her/himself. There was no mention of such a possibility when the Letters Patent were issued in 1947 and such a course would have been contrary to the clear intention of the principles underlying Canadian government as outlined in the Confederation Debates (mentioned above). Moreover, after the issuance of the Letters Patent of 1947, Canadian governments of both Liberal and Conservative composition, advised the Sovereign of Canada to exercise the royal powers in person on various occasions, notable ones being the opening of Parliament by Her Majesty The Queen in 1957 and 1977 and the signing of the Proclamation of the revised Constitution in 1982. The intention of the Letters Patent of 1947 was to provide for the exercise of royal powers in Canada during a regency.



For each province there shall be an Officer, styled the Lieutenant-Governor, appointed by the Governor-General-in-Council by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada.

The Constitution Act 1867, [formerly the British North America Act], Section 58

[A] Lieutenant-Governor, when appointed, is as much the representative for Her Majesty for all purposes of provincial government as the Governor-General himself is for all purposes of Dominion government.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the case of the Liquidators of the Maritime Bank v. Receiver-General of New Brunswick, 1892



THE CROWN: A special term denoting Her Majesty The Queen in her official capacity. Also used as an adjective to describe agents acting for the Queen or for things belonging to her.

THE PREROGATIVE: The sum of royal authority resting on the common law rather than on statutory law. It consists of things the Crown may do without statutory authorisation.

QUEEN’S PRIVY COUNCIL FOR CANADA: The supreme executive body of the Government of Canada. The Cabinet is a committee of the Queen’s Privy Council. Decisions of the Cabinet are given legal effect by means of orders of the Governor-General in the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

PRIVY COUNCILLOR: A member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

ORDER-IN-COUNCIL: Executive acts by the Queen, or by the Governor-General on Her Majesty’s behalf, with the advice and consent of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. Executive Councils (cabinets) are the provincial parallel to the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and issue orders-in-council authorised by the Lieutenant-Governor on the Queen’s behalf.

PARLIAMENT: The highest legislative body in Canada, composed of Queen, Senate and Commons.

THE THRONE: The chair in which the Queen sits in her High Court of Parliament or wherever else she (or her representative on her behalf) holds court. The term is sometimes also used to refer to the Monarchy as a whole.

SPEECH FROM THE THRONE: The speech announcing the Government’s policy for the session read by the Queen or the Governor-General when opening Parliament. It is also applied to the speech read by the Queen’s representative in a province, the Lieutenant-Governor, when opening a legislature.

ROYAL ASSENT: The Queen’s consent to a bill in Parliament. It is the final stage of legislation.

LEADER OF HER MAJESTY’S LOYAL OPPOSITION: The leader of the majority of the opposition members of the House of Commons or of a provincial legislative assembly.

RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT: The system of government under which the Queen’s advisors (the Cabinet) can hold office only so long as they have the confidence of the House of Commons.

REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT: The system in which representatives of the people gather in Parliament under the Sovereign to determine the laws of Canada.

DEMOCRACY: The system in which the people have a role defined and guaranteed by statute in treating with their Monarch.

GOVERNOR-GENERAL: The personal representative of the Queen in Canada.

LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR: The representative of the Queen in a Canadian province.

QUEEN’S PRINTER: The department of government at both federal and provincial levels which is responsible for official publications.

ROYAL COMMISSION: A commission by letters patent running in the Queen’s name entrusted with an important inquiry into public affairs.

WRIT: A written command from the Queen (or from a person acting in her name) ordering someone to do or not to do a certain thing. The writ to a returning officer of an electoral district, for example, commands him or her to hold an election there on a particular day.

ROYAL WARRANT: The written permission or command of the Queen to do something.

ROYAL SIGN MANUAL: The signature of the Queen written by her own hand.

CROWN ATTORNEY: The prosecutor in the Canadian judicial system.

REGINA VERSUS JOHN DOE: The term when the Crown prosecutes an accused person. In the United States it would be “the People versus John Doe”. When a subject brings a suit against the Crown, the formula is “John Doe versus Her Majesty The Queen.”

QUEEN’S EVIDENCE: Evidence given by a witness for the Crown against an accused person.

COURT OF QUEEN’S BENCH: The name given to the supreme court of any one of several provinces.

QUEEN’S COUNCIL (Q.C.) / CONSEILLER DE LA REINE (C.R.): An honour bestowed on eminent lawyers at both the federal and provincial levels. An individual made a Q.C. is formally described as “one of Her Majesty’s Counsel learned in the law”.

THE QUEEN’S PEACE: The traditional description of the state of law and order.

CROWN CORPORATION: An agency of the Queen. In law, the Queen acts directly through government departments, whereas Crown corporations are her agents.

CROWN LAND: Land in Canada derives from the Crown. Crown land is the public land which, since it has not been sold or granted, belongs to the Queen.

QUEEN’S ENGLISH: The traditional way of referring to the English language in Canada.

QUEEN’S COMMISSION: The appointment of an officer (or a ship) in the Canadian Forces.

QUEEN’S COLOUR: A regimental flag representing the Queen and her authority.

H.M.C.S. or N.C.S.M.: Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship / Navire canadien de Sa Majesté. A commissioned ship in the Royal Canadian Navy.


FOUNT OF HONOUR: A term used in referring to the Queen indicating that all honours in Canadian society come from her or are recognised by her.

QUEEN’S PLATE: The oldest continuously run horse race in North America.

DAUPHIN: Title of the heir to the Throne in Canada’s French line of kings.

PRINCE OF WALES: Title usually (but not always) bestowed by the Monarch on his or her heir. It is a reminder of the multicultural nature of Canada’s Royal Family.



The Command-in-Chief of the Land and Naval Militia, and of all Naval and Military Forces, of and in Canada, is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.

The Constitution Act 1867, [formerly The British North America Act], Section 15

Since the Letters Patent of King Edward VII in 1905, the Sovereign has made each Governor-General Commander-in-Chief.

A person entering the Canadian Forces makes the following affirmation: “I [name], do affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors.”



One of the distinctive characteristics of the Canadian Forces is the regimental system which treats units of the Forces as families, many led by a member of the Royal Family as colonel-in-chief. Twelve members of the Royal Family hold such appointments in Canada: the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Countess of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duchess of Gloucester, Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra of Kent. As a mark of special royal favour, many Canadian regiments have been given the designation royal (e.g. The Royal Canadian Regiment, Royal 22e Régiment du Canada, Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada) and others named after members of the Royal Family (e.g. Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Toronto Scottish Regiment [Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Own]).



The Queen is the fount of honour in Canada and the creator of all official honours, whether they are subsequently awarded by Her Majesty personally or on the Queen’s behalf by her representative, the Governor-General, with Her Majesty’s approval. Her Majesty is the Sovereign of all official orders. The major Canadian honours are: the Victoria Cross, Star of Military Valour and Medal of Military Valour (military gallantry); the Cross of Valour, Star of Courage and Medal of Bravery (civilian bravery); the Order of Merit, Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit, Order of Merit of the Police Forces, Royal Victorian Order and Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. Canadians are also admitted to the Order of Companions of Honour by Her Majesty. Provincial honours created by the Queen’s representatives in the provinces in their executive or legislative capacities are also accorded official recognition.



Monarchs have been personally involved in setting up some famous Canadian institutions. George II was the “Royal founder” of St Paul’s Church, Halifax, and George III of Christ Church Cathedral, Quebec City. The Mohawk Royal Chapels were paid for by George III. William IV is honoured as the royal founder of the University of Victoria College in Toronto and George IV established King’s College, out of which the University of Toronto developed. After fire destroyed the University of Toronto Library in 1890, Queen Victoria and members of the Royal Family (including her grandson Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany) gave money for the restoration. An outgrowth of this was the Royal Ontario Museum.



Scholarships, grants and awards have been set up to mark important royal tours in Canada or special royal occasions. For instance, the Victorian Order of Nurses was Canada’s gift to Queen Victoria for her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and the Canadian Cancer Fund came out of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of King George V in 1935. The Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography was set up in 1986 under the Canada Council in honour of Prince Andrew and his former wife Sarah. Lesser-known ones are the Queen Elizabeth II Fund to Aid in Research on the Diseases of Children and the trust fund established in honour of Elizabeth II in her Silver Jubilee year, 1977, to help young Canadians better understand each other’s language and culture.



Many Canadian associations, societies or corporations have been declared royal by the Sovereign or have been named royal in response to a request for that designation. Examples of the first category are Canadian regiments, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Royal Military College, etc. Among the second type are the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Royal Columbian Hospital, Royal Conservatory of Music, Royal Canadian College of Organists, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Royal Canadian Legion, Royal British Columbia Museum, Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, etc. In addition, the Sovereign is often patron of a body without a royal designation, as in the case of the Toronto French School. Some buildings have also received royal names. The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, King Edward Hotel, Royal Alexandra Theatre and Queen Elizabeth Hotel are examples. Among the more recent additions to this heritage of nomenclature are the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre in the Northwest Territories and the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.



Constitutional monarchy effectively integrates the executive, legislative and judicial functions of public life at both central and provincial levels. In Canada there is, in the words of the constitutional expert Eugene Forsey (1904-1991), only one authority – the Queen’s – manifested through eleven governments. Federal systems that are not monarchies find it difficult to reconcile regional authority with federal unity because the common institutional thread of the Crown is missing. This integration is illustrated by the oaths taken at various levels of Canadian society.

PRIVY COUNCILLOR’S OATH ( taken by all cabinet ministers)

I, [name], do solemnly and sincerely swear that I shall be a true and faithful servant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada. I shall keep secret all matters committed and revealed to me in this capacity, or that shall be secretly treated of in Council. Generally, in all things I shall do as a faithful and true servant ought to do for Her Majesty. So help me God.


I, [name], do swear that I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law.

The Constitution Act 1867 [formerly The British North America Act], The Fifth Schedule


Before obtaining Canadian citizenship, an individual must take this oath: “I swear [or I solemnly affirm] that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”



The Queen’s actual birthday is 21st April 1926. By royal proclamation the public celebration of her birthday in Canada is held each year on the Monday immediately preceding the 25th of May – the same day as Victoria Day. (Victoria Day is thus a dual holiday celebrating the birthdays both of the reigning monarch and of the Mother of Confederation.) Twenty-one gun salutes are fired at the official saluting bases across Canada (Ottawa and the provincial capitals); parades, picnics and fireworks take place; and students and workers are given a holiday.



In 1605 King Henri IV accepted the gift of ten amethyst crystals sent to him by the first settlers of Acadia. They included one from Cape Blomidon that was afterwards kept with the Crown Jewels and disappeared with the other regalia during the French Revolution. In 1799 the Legislature of Nova Scotia presented the Duke of Kent (father of Queen Victoria) with a Star of the Order of the Garter in diamonds to mark his residence in the province. A diamond necklace was the Canadian government’s gift to Princess Louise in 1883 at the end of her husband the Marquis of Lorne’s time as Governor-General. The Canadian-born geologist, financier and philanthropist John Thoburn Williamson gave the 54-carat Princess Pink Diamond as a wedding present to Princess Elizabeth (as Queen Elizabeth II then was) in 1947. The Princess Pink Diamond came from Williamson’s African diamond mines. For the Coronation in 1953, Canada joined the other Commonwealth countries in providing the gold bracelets or armills with which the Queen was invested and which now form part of the Crown Jewels. The bracelets signify the Lord’s protection and symbolise the bond which unites the Queen with her peoples.



Constitutional monarchy allows the celebration of public social events, such as the marking of collective anniversaries and the bestowal of honours, to be free of the taint of partisan politics. If one belongs to a community that has not had a royal visit or has not had a member of the Royal Family present for a long time, one can request such a visit through a Member of Parliament. It is wise to have a specific purpose in mind when proposing a visit (e.g. the opening of a new facility, the celebration of an anniversary, the marking of a holiday, etc.) It is also wise to enlist the support of a cabinet minister when requesting a royal visit.



All Crown-owned road systems are the Queen’s highways. The term “King’s Highway” is used on road signs in the Province of Ontario, since for some inexplicable reason they were not altered to “Queen’s Highway” when Her Majesty succeeded her father King George VI on the Throne.



Carved over the doors to the House of Commons inside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa are the likenesses of Henry VII and François I, the first monarchs officially considered as reigning in Canada. Along with them are depicted Louis XIV and George II. The Parliament Buildings also boast a statue of Victoria in the Library and a bust of her over the thrones in the Senate. Heads of all the monarchs since Confederation (Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II) decorate the Senate foyer. The striking equestrian statue of Queen Elizabeth II on Parliament Hill was unveiled by Her Majesty on 30th June 1992 and another equestrian statue was created in Regina. Statues of the Queen’s father George VI may be found in Vancouver and Niagara Falls, and Toronto and Montreal possess fine ones of Edward VII. Statues of Queen Victoria abound throughout the country. Of the two in Montreal, one was designed by Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise. There are also statues of this 19th century Monarch in Hamilton, Toronto and Victoria. Place Royale in Quebec City has a head and shoulders bust of King Louis XIV based on the original by Bernini.



Canada is rich in place names derived from or associated with its Monarchy. From the British Columbia capital of Victoria to hundreds of streets named Victoria, the name of the Mother of Confederation is more widely used in Canada than in any other part of the Commonwealth. Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Alberta are royal names, as are Regina, Fredericton, Charlottetown and Guelph. Queen Elizabeth I herself named Meta Incognita on Baffin Island and British Columbia was named by Queen Victoria; Cape Henrietta Maria commemorates Charles I’s Queen; Louisbourg was named for Louis XIV; and Dauphin, Manitoba derived its name from the title of Louis XV’s heir. Ottawa was chosen as the national capital by Queen Victoria.



H.R.H. The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, established the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Canada in 1963. The Award is a non-competitive programme of leisure-time activities designed to challenge young people to make the best possible use of their time by involving them in worthwhile (e.g. community) and enjoyable pursuits. The Award has three levels of achievement: bronze, silver and gold. The Gold Award is presented by a member of the Royal Family. Since its inception over 150,000 Canadian young people have achieved the Award. The Duke of Edinburgh’s role in the Award scheme is now being taken over by his youngest son, The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. [The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award / Young Canadians’ Challenge, P.O. Box 124, Suite 825, 207 Queen’s Quay West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5J 1A7;]



Royal and viceregal patronage have played, and continue to play, an important role in the development of Canada’s sporting heritage. The Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes (horse racing) and Prince of Wales Trophy (hockey) are examples of support for professional sports which have achieved international stature. Governors-General have given their names to such famous trophies as the Stanley Cup, the Grey Cup and the Vanier Cup. Sports organisations, including the Royal Canadian Golf Association and the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta and stadia such as Empire Stadium (Vancouver, built 1954 and demolished 1992), Commonwealth Stadium (Edmonton), old Lansdowne Park (Ottawa) and Parc Victoria (Quebec City) also reflect the royal heritage of Canada. The Prince Andrew Cup (cross-country running) and Viscount Alexander Trophy (outstanding junior competitor in amateur sports) reward young Canadian athletes.



The cost of the Monarchy in Canada has been estimated at about $1.50 per person per year. This includes the costs of royal engagements and tours in Canada and the salaries and operating expenses of the Governor-General and the Lieutenant-Governors and their households. It was estimated in 1993 that the cost of the American Presidency was US$1 billion per year, or Cdn$5 per person, with the cost of state governors additional. Personal expenses of the Royal Family are paid for from the private income of the Royal Family and public expenses of the Monarchy in the United Kingdom or other realms of the Queen are paid for by the respective countries. Members of the Royal Family are paid no salary or honorarium by the Canadian or any Commonwealth government for carrying out their duties and fulfilling their inherited vocation.



Referring to the Queen as “Queen Elizabeth”. “Queen Elizabeth” meant Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The only correct way of referring to the Sovereign is “The Queen” or “Queen Elizabeth II”. The sole exception is when the Queen is mentioned in formal prayer (for instance, “Our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth”).

Referring to the Queen as “Queen of England”. There has been no Queen of England since Queen Anne in 1707. In that year the Crowns of Scotland and England were merged and the Sovereign assumed the new title “Queen of Great Britain”. (The title is now “Queen of the United Kingdom”.) In Canada her title is “Queen of Canada”, in Belize “Queen of Belize”, etc.

Assuming that Queen Elizabeth II is ethnically “British”. Though born in England, Her Majesty and her heirs are descended from more than 40 identifiable ethnic groups, including ones in Asia and Africa.

Referring to the Governor-General as the “Head of State”, “Acting Head of State” or “Resident Head of State”, etc. Canada has a Queen and a Governor-General. The Queen is the head of Canada and the Governor-General her personal representative. The office of Governor-General is derived from and subordinate to that of Queen. The Canadian Constitution recognises no such title as “Head of State”. That term applies to presidents of republics and to some monarchs but not to a monarchy of the Canadian kind, where sovereignty lies with the Queen-in-Parliament/Legislature. The Queen is the embodiment or personification of the state, so in law the Queen is the state. It is therefore impossible for anyone else to be “the Head of State”, which would literally mean “the Head of the Queen”.

Assuming that Canadian taxes support the Royal Family. Canadians pay no money whatsoever toward the personal income of the Royal Family.

Assuming that the Civil List in the United Kingdom is tax money. The Civil List is not tax money but is revenue derived from the hereditary Crown Estate out of which the Monarchy in that country is financed.



The Loyal Toast is the name of the official toast in Canada to express loyalty to the Sovereign. Toasts are given to monarchs or heads of state, not to countries. For Canadians the toast is “The Queen / La reine”, for Commonwealth citizens and foreigners it is “The Queen of Canada / La reine du Canada”. Canadians toast other countries with, for example, “The Queen of Denmark” or “The President of the United States”. The toast should only be given in wine or water, never in coffee or tea. By tradition, smoking is not permitted at a dinner until guests drink the Loyal Toast.



Each year early in July the Queen holds three large garden parties at Buckingham Palace in London and one at Holyrood House in Edinburgh. Canadians who are planning to be in either city at that time may ask to be considered for an invitation. Letters making such requests should be written at least six months in advance to The High Commissioner of Canada, Macdonald House, 1 Grosvenor Square, London, United Kingdom W1K 4AB, tel: 011-44-207-258-6600; fax: 011-44-207-258-6333.



For 60th wedding anniversaries and 100th birthdays of Canadians, messages from the Queen can be arranged. They are sent from the Queen through Government House, Ottawa, and can be obtained through MPs, MPPs, MNAs, MLAs, MHAs, etc. At least three months advance notice is required.



When formally presented to and taking leave of the Queen, a man makes a bow and a woman a curtsey. The bow is a simple bow from the neck only, the back being held straight. (The bow should not be what has been described as a “bum bow”, in which a person bows from the waist and sticks out his or her rear end.) A curtsey is a brief bob made with the weight on the front foot. Any woman who feels uncomfortable with a curtsey should make a neck bow instead. The Queen is addressed the first time as “Your Majesty” and afterwards as “Ma’am”. A person does not initiate conversation with the Queen but replies fully and readily to her questions and comments. Of course, on walkabouts such formality is relaxed. Politeness and common sense would then be the guide. The Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, is also greeted with a bow or curtsey. He is addressed the first time as “Your Royal Highness” and afterwards as “Sir”. This also applies to other members of the Royal Family who are princes and princesses. In the case of a princess, “Sir” becomes “Ma’am”.

As the direct representative of the Queen, the Governor-General is entitled to a bow or curtsey. Lieutenant-Governors, who represent Her Majesty at a remove, are not so entitled.



The Queen not only enjoys receiving mail from her subjects but considers it a very important way of keeping in touch with public opinion. Petitions to the Queen, formal addresses, expressions of loyalty, copies of resolutions, etc., may be sent directly to the Queen or sent to her through Government House, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1, with a covering letter to The Secretary to the Governor-General asking that they be sent to the Queen. Communications of a more personal nature should be sent to Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace, London, with a covering letter to The Private Secretary to The Queen, asking that they be brought to Her Majesty’s attention. The envelope address is Her Majesty The Queen, Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom SW1 AA1, tel: 011-44-207-930-4832; fax: 011-44-207-839-5950. The opening of the letter (where Dear so and so is normally used) is simply “Madam”. The closing formula is “I have the honour to remain, Madam, Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient servant”. In the body of the letter “Your Majesty” is used in place of “you” and “Your Majesty’s” in place of “your”.


Copyright © 1993/2004/2013 Arthur Bousfield and Garry Toffoli (Fealty Enterprises)