Today, July 1st, is Canada Day so in that spirit let’s review some British Royals in Canada over the years.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
We’ll start with the Queen Mum. She and King George VI visited Canada from coast to coast in June of 1939. This was the first visit of a reigning monarch to Canada and it was an enormous success, with huge crowds at every stop.
On a 1985 visit to Canada, the Queen Mum spoke of that first visit to Canada by saying:
“It is now some 46 years since I first came to this country with the King, in those anxious days shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. I shall always look back upon that visit with feelings of affection and happiness. I think I lost my heart to Canada and Canadians, and my feelings have not changed with the passage of time.”
Her Majesty The Queen
The Queen has visited Canada on numerous occasions and always arrives with patriotic ensembles.
Her Maple Leaf dress, which was designed by Norman Hartnell, is a prime example.
The Queen wore this dress on October 14, 1957 to a banquet at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada.
Years later, during her July 2010 visit, Her Majesty showed up in a maple leaf encrusted white gown. So much bling!
The maple leaves went all the way down her sleeve. Here she is with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto:
On that occasion, the Queen said,
“On my first visit, before I was queen, I noted that from the moment I came to Canadian soil, my sense of apprehension disappeared, because I understood that I was not only among friends but among fellow citizens,” she said. “Today, many years later, I still feel as much affection and admiration for Canada.”
The Queen has been in Canada on Canada Day on at least two occasions. She is shown here in 1997 during the Parliament Hill Canada Day Celebrations with then Prime Minister Jean Chretien:
The Queen and Chretien had first met years before.
According to the CBC,
Chrétien…drew a big laugh from the Queen when she attended the signing ceremony of the Constitution Act in Ottawa in 1982. Chrétien, who was the justice minister, said former prime minister Pierre Trudeau broke the tip of his fountain pen as he signed the document.
“I picked up the pen and I start to try to sign and it was not working and I said to myself ‘merde’ and she had a big, big laugh,” he said. “Everybody was asking me what the hell you told her that she had such a spontaneous laugh and I refused to say so for years.”
Here’s a photo of that moment. Merde, indeed!
In 2010, the Queen was back for Canada Day and she really did it up with her red suit and white hat.
She wore the Maple Leaf Brooch, which we discussed in detail in our post on the brooch a few months ago. Click here for that.
Love this ever so Canadian moment:
Let’s not forget Princess Anne. The Princess Royal has also brought out red and white during visits to Canada. Here she is in 2010 accepting an honorary degree from Memorial University in Newfoundland:
The Duke and Duchess of York
During their marriage, the Duke and Duchess of York visited Canada a few times. Here they are all decked out for the Calgary Stampede in 1987:
On another day, Fergie wore a maple leaf in her hair, which won her more fans:
Princess Diana was actually born on Canada Day in 1961, so today would have been her 51st birthday. In July of 1998, I visited the gates of Kensington Palace and there were oodles of flowers left out for the occasion.
She and Prince Charles visited Canada together several times over the years, and at one point Diana even speculated that she would like Prince Charles to be named Governor General of the country. I believe that was only a fleeting fancy. However, Princess Diana certainly showed up in a lot of red and white.
Here she is in 1983:
Another shot from 1983:
The couple had a short stop over in Vancouver in 1985 on their way to Australia and were back in the city in 1986 to kick off Expo. More red came out for that visit:
This photograph of Princess Diana greeting William and Harry in a red-and-white check Missoni jacket got a lot of press. William and Harry were joining their parents on their Canadian tour in 1991 and they had not seen each other for a few days. The family was travelling on the Royal Yacht Brittania:
Prince William & Prince Harry
On that visit in 1991, Princes William and Harry visited Niagara falls:
And in 1998 before a private ski holiday to Whistler, they spent a couple of days in Vancouver, prompting thousands of school girls to camp out outside their hotel. I may or may not have been one of them:
The Duchess of Cornwall
It seems that the Duchess of Cornwall feels that red isn’t really her colour, but she does get into the spirit of things during visits to Canada in other ways.
For example, she (like the Duchess of Cambridge) have both borrowed the Maple Leaf Brooch from the Queen.
She has also worn the regimental brooch of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, of which is Colonel-in-Chief. It is called the Pellatt brooch. The Regiment commissioned a portrait of Camilla, which she unvieiled during her visit to Canada in May 2012. She wore the exact same outfit that she is wearing in the portrait, which is pretty darn cute:
According to the Prince of Wales’ website, during the visit Camilla said,
“As the daughter of a highly decorated World War Two hero, the great-great-great-granddaughter of a Canadian Prime Minister, Sir Allan MacNab, and Royal Colonel of 4 Rifles, a British regiment closely allied to your own, I feel very much a part of your regimental history, so please remember how much my association with you all, as your Colonel-in-Chief, means to me and what interest, concern, and pride I have in all you do.”
Camilla’s revelation of her direct connection to the Canadian leader Sir Allan McNab was news to me! Here is the fellow himself:
Camilla is shown here in May of 2012 during a visit to Fort York in Ontario. She wore the brooch on her hat this time:
It is also notable that the black clutch bag that Camilla carries in the photo above is from the Michique line, which is designed by two Cape Breton-born sisters. It seems that a member of Camilla’s staff was told to hunt for a Canadian designer to help support during their tour. Hurray for that!
The Earl and Countess of Wessex
The Earl and Countess of Wessex have been to Canada on numerous occasions, with varying degrees of publicity. In fact, their first overseas tour together was to Canada in 2000. Here they are on Prince Edward Island during that tour. Sadly, no red to be seen:
The Duchess of Cambridge
Kate was all over getting into the red and white spirit of things during her tour of Canada with Prince William last summer.The visit coincided with Canada Day and Kate and William participated in the celebrations on Parliament Hill. Kate even wore red shoes for the occasion. This was also the first of three times that she wore the Maple Leaf Brooch during the trip.
Kudos to Kate for the maple leaf hat. Hope she gets to wear it again before too long:
On Kate’s last day in Canada, she pulled this custom Catherine Walker coat dress out:
In Prince William’s last speech of this Canadian tour he said,
“In 1939, my great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, said of her first Tour of Canada with her husband, King George VI: `Canada made us.` Catherine and I now know very well what she meant.
Canada has far surpassed all that we were promised. Our promise to Canada is that we shall return.”
On that note, we wish you a very happy Canada Day! We will chat more about Wimbledon in our next post…