A message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Canada had 1 million Canadian serve in the Second World War during 6 long years.
Today is H.M. the Queen 94th Birthday. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on 21 April 1926 at number 17 Bruton street, Mayfair, London. The house does not exist anymore. She was named Elizabeth after her mother; Alexandra after her grandfather’s King George V mother Alexandra of Denmark who had died six months earlier; and Mary after paternal grandfather’s wife Queen Mary of Teck.
She is the longest reigning Monarch of Canada and Great Britain at 68 years. In 1947, she married Philip Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
In 2017, she became the first Canadian and British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee, (65yrs). She is the longest lived and longest-reigning. She is the longest serving female head of State in world history, and the world’s oldest living monarch.
Queen Elizabeth II, personal Standard in Canada, flown when she is on Canadian soil.
Very Happy Birthday and best wishes to Her Majesty.
Princess Elizabeth, portrait 1929.
On this day 2 Kings died, Charles II son of the unfortunate Charles I who died at the hand of Cromwell, died on 6 February 1685 at age 54 at WhiteHall Palace of kidney failure. Having no children of his own, his brother James II became King.
Nearer to us on 6 February 1952 King George VI died in his sleep at age 56 at Sandrigham House, his daughter Princess Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen 68 years ago today. Her Coronation was held in June 1953 respecting the rules of mourning. She is today the longest reigning Monarch of Canada. Queen Elizabeth II will be 94 years old in April. The 6 February is not celebrated but a day of remembrance for Queen Elizabeth of her late father.
King George VI and his daughter Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen.
The Funeral of the late King George VI in London, February 1952. He is buried in St-George’s Chapel in Windsor with his wife the Queen Mother, d. March 2002 and daughter Princess Margaret, d. February 2002.
I saw some preview of a new documentary on Queen Elizabeth II and the Coronation. I had forgotten that there are actually 2 Crowns, one for the Coronation moment itself when the intended is actually Crown and then a second Crown which is used for all State occasions, including the rest of the Coronation Ceremony and events that follow.
There is also the State Diadem of 1820 made for King George IV to wear on his way to his coronation. He was one of the many sons of King George III and Queen Charlotte. This diadem was then worn by his wife Queen Adelaide and then by Queen Victoria and now Queen Elizabeth wears it on several occasions like when she travels from Buckingham Palace to Parliament each year.
The Crown of Saint Edward a solid gold crown is used at the moment of the Coronation itself and then put away until the next Coronation. Fairly heavy to wear on one’s head according to the Queen.
St Edward’s Crown is the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels. Named after Edward the Confessor (1003-1066) it has been traditionally used to crown British monarchs at their Coronation since the 13th century.
The original crown was a holy relic kept at Westminster Abbey, Edward’s burial place, until the regalia were either sold or melted down after Parliament abolished the monarchy in 1649, during the English Civil War.
The present version of St Edward’s Crown was made for Charles II in 1661. It is solid gold, 30 centimetres (12 in) tall, weighs 2.23 kilograms (4.9 lb), and is decorated with 444 precious and semi-precious stones. The crown is similar in weight and overall appearance to the original, but its arches are Baroque.
After 1689, it was not used to crown a monarch for over 200 years. In 1911, the tradition was revived by George V and all subsequent monarchs have been crowned using St Edward’s Crown. A stylised image of this crown is used in Coats of Arms, like those of Canada to symbolise the royal authority of Queen Elizabeth II.
The other Crown we see most often is the Imperial State Crown, it is worn after the Coronation Ceremony and at all State functions.
Usually, the crown is taken to the Palace of Westminster under armed guard in its own carriage and placed in the Robing Room, where the Queen dons her robes of State and puts on the crown before giving her speech to Parliament.
Upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, a new state crown was made for Charles II by Sir Robert Vyner. About 10 versions of the crown have existed since the restoration. The one made for Queen Victoria in 1838 is the basis for today’s crown. Made by Rundell and Bridge in 1838 using old and new jewels, it had a crimson velvet cap with ermine border and a lining of white silk. It weighed 39.25 troy ounces, or just over 1.2 kilograms, and was decorated with 1,363 brilliant-cut, 1,273 rose-cut and 147 table-cut diamonds, 277 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 4 rubies, and the Black Prince’s Ruby
The gems in the crown were remounted for the coronation of George VI in 1937 by Garrard & Co. The crown was adjusted for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, with the head size reduced and the arches lowered by 25 mm (1 inch) to give it a more feminine appearance.
I also did not know that for the documentary, the producers were not allowed to photograph the crown from above, as it is considered disrespectful to God. The Crown is a religious sacred object and it is treated as such by the Sovereign and everyone around. Only the Queen can actually put on the crown which she does by herself without anyone’s help. There is a lot of protocol surrounding this piece of jewellery, do’s and don’t’s. Really fascinating when you think of it and how it all came about.
Today was a day of storms here on the Island, high winds around 80km per hour, icy rain and snow, in the end not much of an accumulation but it now feels like Winter.
This morning opening of gifts including an Amazon gift certificate from Nicky and Nora and a nice breakfast with croissant made by John of Breadworks, at noon we listened to H.M. the Queen’s message broadcasted on the CBC across Canada. On Christmas day it is the tradition to listen to her broadcast which comes from London (pre-recorded) and heard in Canada and in all other Commonwealth countries.
Her Majesty’s message is followed by the Royal Anthem.
Then we got ready to go to Vernon Bridge for late lunch at friends house by the water. A very nice house beautifully decorated. Their house is only 20 minutes from our home in town but the weather was awful and the wind. But we made it very nicely with no problems. We had wild goose with a few lead buckshot in the meat. Which I thought made it more authentic and some nice roasted vegetables, dessert was Plum Pudding with hard sauce. We met some new comers to the Island, Turkish immigrants who opened businesses here and are making a go of it.
Our drive back this evening was uneventful despite the very high winds said to be in the 90 to 100km range. Another Christmas has come and gone, it was a good one, nice friends and good food. The puppies are fine what else can we ask for.
Tomorrow is Boxing Day and most things are closed, we are told it will be a sunny day.
Sandringham House is a country house near Sandringham, Norfolk, England. It is the private home of Queen Elizabeth II. The house stands within a 20,000 acres estate in the Norfolk Coast Area.
So it was announced that HRH Prince Henry (Harry) and his fiancée Meghan Markle will be spending this Christmas with the other members of the Royal Family. Meghan was invited by HM the Queen, the family spends several days celebrating but it will not be at all like most people imagine a family Christmas is spent, you know in your jammies opening gifts and just being silly, letting our hair down etc.
Anytime spent in the presence of Her Majesty is a highly choreographed affair with briefing on what to wear and at what time each event takes place, all of it of course is private and no one from the public in attendance. It will be quite the adjustment for Megan and it is a test in a way to see if she can conform to a life time of following an exact program. It is a world very far removed from the common folk and not even TV series like Downtown Abbey can give an idea of what all this would be like. The actors in that television series portrayed rich aristocrats not the Royals.
Here is a little description of what it will be like.
Christmas traditions are sacred, and in that sense, the royal family is no different. Every year, the Queen goes up to Sandringham House in Norfolk on the 19th or 20th of December, with the rest of the family arriving on Christmas Eve around lunchtime.
Unfortunately for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and now Meghan, Christmas with Granny doesn’t mean they’ll be spending the holidays in a relaxed family atmosphere. In fact, Christmas at the queen’s official Winter retreat, Sandringham, is a different beast altogether.
While most of us think of Christmas as being a quiet, casual time at home, the holidays are hardly a low-key affair for the royals. Family members to the Queen’s Christmas Celebrations are required to adhere to court protocol, including bowing or curtseying to their royal superiors and paying attention to who enters a room first. Even their arrivals are coordinated based on seniority, with junior members arriving at Sandringham first and the more senior ones arriving last. Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, always arrive last, as Charles is the immediate heir to the throne. The queen arrives at the estate usually a few days before her guests so she can oversee the preparations. Yes family members are seen as guests in the House of the Queen.
In addition to coordinating their arrivals, family members have to adhere to the queen’s perfectly timed schedule. They are typically given an outline of their activities upon arrival so they can coordinate their outfit changes and timing. Family members also cannot go to bed before the queen, who typically stays up until midnight. (However, we imagine exceptions would be made for sleepy little ones like Prince George and Princess Charlotte.)
Again, Christmas at Sandringham is not a casual affair, and guests are expected to make at least three outfit changes throughout the day, including an outfit change for morning activities, a new ensemble for afternoon tea (usually a suit or tweed dress for women), and formal attire complete with jewels at dinner. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, once complained that she once had to wear seven different outfits in a 24-hour period when she used to be invited to the holiday celebrations.
Keeping with tradition, the food at Sandringham tends to be your typical holiday fare, including a Christmas turkey accompanied by winter root vegetables like parsnips. Royal Family members also start their days on the estate with a typical English breakfast, complete with bacon, sausages, kippers, and kidneys.
Prince Charles famously brings in his own organic vegetables and food to eat that come straight from his garden in Highgrove. Charles prefers poached plums from his estate, so his valet would often place up to four bottles of the treats in the estate’s fridge.
Family members typically arrive at the estate on Christmas Eve in the early afternoon, where they are ushered to their rooms to change for tea. At 4 p.m., they gathers in the White Drawing Room for tea and snacks, while children are given last-minute ornaments to decorate the Christmas tree. Then, everyone is ushered into the Red Drawing Room, where tables are set up with presents which are, again, displayed in order of royal precedence. (The family opens their presents on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, as the queen believes Dec. 25 should be reserved for religion.)
Rather than fancy gifts, the royal family exchanges joke presents — the sillier, the better. Diana famously made a mistake during one of her first Christmases at Sandringham, bringing an expensive cashmere sweaters and luxury items to give to her in-laws. It appears that Kate has gotten the hang of royal gifting, as she reportedly gave Prince Harry a plastic Grow Your Own Girlfriend kit during an early visit. Previous gifts that made a splash include a padded toilet-seat cover that Princess Anne gave Prince Charles and a pepper mill that one family member gave to Prince Philip.
Later, the family changes once again for dinner, donning formal clothing and jewels. The adults and older children dine together, while the youngsters play in a nursery. After dinner, the queen stands to signal to the women in the party that they should move to another room for coffee, while the men stay behind for an after-dinner drink.
On Christmas Day
After breakfast, the entire royal family dons their best church clothing for a visit to the Sandringham parish church at 11 a.m., where they are usually greeted by a large crowd of fans and photographers, the service last exactly 12 minutes. Then, everyone heads back to the big house for lunch, which includes a Christmas turkey and a selection of cold meats, before watching the queen’s annual Christmas message on TV at 3 p.m.
After lunch, the family is free to roam around the estate or, if they prefer, stay inside and watch TV, which is usually full of special Christmas-themed TV shows.
Following another traditional breakfast, the group heads out for an annual pheasant shoot on the estate. The men are the only people who are allowed to take part in the hunt, as ladies are not allowed to use a gun in the presence of the queen. Once the shoot is over, the party begins to break up, with everyone heading home to spend the holidays with other members of their families. Kate and William typically visit Kate’s parents in Bucklebury before heading to Balmoral to meet up with Charles and Camilla again. However, now that the Cambridges have a home at nearby Anmer Hall (which sits on the Sandringham grounds) there is talk that the Middletons will stay at Anmer Hall and join the royal family for various events during the holiday.
Anmer Hall built in 1802 in the Georgian style and renovated in 2015 at a cost of $3million dollars. Home to William and Kate and the kids.
While everyone else takes off, the queen and Prince Philip will remain at Sandringham until February. Reportedly, the queen insists that the Christmas decorations stay up during her entire term at the estate.
I wonder how will Meghan manage all that? She is not a Royal and very low on the totem pole. She will have to prove herself to the Queen and the rest of the family, this is probably the most difficult part. Fail and you are in for a lot of misery.
H.M. Queen Elizabeth and H.R.H. Prince Philip are celebrating their 70th Wedding Anniversary. Here is the Official photo taken for the occasion.
The couple married at London’s Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947, just two years after the end of World War Two, in a lavish ceremony attended by statesmen and royalty from around the world.
The portrait, taken earlier this month, showed the queen wearing the same dress which she chose for a service of thanksgiving to mark their diamond wedding anniversary held at the Abbey where they were married.
She is also wearing a “Scarab” brooch in yellow gold, carved ruby and diamond which Philip gave her in 1966.
Elizabeth has been married for far longer than any other royal, and the newly-released picture showed the couple framed by Thomas Gainsborough’s 1781 portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte, (Charlottetown PEI) who were married for 57 years – the second longest royal marriage.
Wedding day 70 years ago
Interviews by celebrities great and minor is a business for many magazines and talk shows. It brings viewers or readers and it boost attention to a person with a public profile. It’s good PR if you know how to spin the message. The following is based on my own observation and experience while in the Foreign Service over 35 years.
The Canadian and British Royal Family knows how to spin a good tale and the Palace has a team of experts who always present the right message or image to the public.
Nothing new really, if you want to be a popular King, Queen, Emperor or Prince you need to justify your existence every day, this is what Lord Louis Mountbatten the uncle of Prince Charles use to tell him.
Queen Victoria cultivated the image of the happy housewife and mother, she had 9 kids. Then when her husband Price Albert died in 1861, she transformed herself into a professional widow supported by her children. Most of it was rubbish but the public lapped it up. The government cultivated that image, so that by the end of her life, she had become an iconic image of mother of the Empire. An image that had been carefully fabricated and endures.
Examples of Kings who did not care much for public opinion, King Charles I of England who lost his head to a rebellious Parliament under Oliver Cromwell. Louis XV of France who was an old débauché who had to be secretly buried when he died in 1774.
King Georges VI who became king after his brother renounced the Throne in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, he was keenly aware that the public was not happy with the Royal Family and during the time of his reign did all he could to build up his image with the public, staying in London during the raids on the City and then visiting neighbourhoods after bombings to speak with the people and show solidarity during the war years. His daughters Elizabeth and Margaret were encouraged to also give this example of service to the Nation. Again the government and the Palace cultivated this image carefully.
Since the early 1980’s the Queen and Prince Philip have cultivated a less formal image of Royalty, Palace advisors were keen to present the Royal Family as modern and not as museum exhibits.
Last week Prince Harry, the younger son of Diana Princess of Wales and Prince Charles, gave an interview to Newsweek. It made a sensation, he too is being groomed to give interviews at various moments in his life to show that as a young man now 33 yrs old, he can be approachable and almost a normal person, whatever that means for a Prince.
His brother William who one day will be King is groomed differently because he is closer to the Throne and because of his destiny. Their father Prince Charles now 68 belongs to another generation and his image has been cast a long time ago. He never fully recovered from the damage the accidental death of his first wife Diana and the ensuing media frenzy created. Though the Queen at the time was seen as unfeeling or even mean, this image was pure fabrication by the media and Prime Minister Tony Blair who wanted to increase his own image with the public, calling Diana the People’s Princess. In many ways Diana created her own problems, she forgot that when you marry the Heir to the Throne you have to play the part no matter what happens. Her first duty and that of Charles was to produce an Heir, the second duty was to keep up appearances so as not to damage the image of the Sovereign or the Royal Family. Yes Charles had a long time mistress Camilla and that was known in Royal Circles, he certainly was not the first Prince or Heir to have a mistress, many before him had mistresses and were also married with children and everyone played the game. Diana thought she could use the media against the Royals and win. If she was still alive today, she would probably be discredited and living abroad with some lover pensioned off. Instead she is no more than a distant memory, Tony Blair is discredited and the Queen is celebrating the first ever Sapphire Jubilee in British history. Prince Charles married the Princess Consort Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and obtained for her titles never given to Diana, the two boys William and Harry have lives of their own.
What often the public fails to see is that the Royal Family is not at our level and they live in a world totally removed from ours. A world difficult to imagine, where everything is choreographed and scripted to the last detail. What you wear everyday, the honours you receive, your salary, how people address you, where you will live, your daily program of activities every day of the year, what you say, even private family functions are programmed completely. You don’t have to think, everything is done ahead of time all prepared by advisors and counsellors, just follow the instructions. Much of it is controlled by the Queen and her advisors, she decides who gets the helicopter, there is only one, what car will be put at your disposal, what honours and titles she will bestow upon you, what apartment you will get at this or that Palace, all of it based on rank in the family.
Per example Prince Harry like many Royals lives at Kensington Palace, he has a small flat, nothing fancy but quite nice. His brother William who is married and has children and being that he will succeed Charles one day as King, gets a much nicer living space befitting his station in life, he also has a Duchy with a generous revenue. Same for Prince Charles who has Heir gets to have his own palace in London on the Mall, Clarence House.
Can you imagine living like that all of your life, you can’t quit and you cannot tell the Sovereign who happens to be your grandmother off.
The interview in Newsweek was very interesting in how it re-enforced stereotypes and myths about the Royal Family. Prince Harry said the wished for a life other than the one he has now. This is a nice thing to say because it gives the people the impression that he wants to be just like all the other commoners.
He then went on to say he wanted to do his own shopping and live his life as normally as possible. I had a good laugh on that one, again it is exactly what the media wants to hear. You see he is a normal bloke and he like his mother wants to escape. In reality that is nonsense, the only life he knows is that of the Palace, with all the privileges which comes with being the grandson of the Sovereign and a Prince of the United Kingdom.
He went on to say that no one wants to be King or Queen, but we will all do our duties. Well yes, he is a decorated Officer in Her Majesty’s Army and he owes allegiance to the Queen as his Sovereign. His life is one of service to the Crown and duty is what governs his life. It is also treason to say that you would like to be king or that someone else should be, saying this would imply you wish for the death of the Monarch.
Currently he is still single, but apparently he could marry this TV model Meghan Markle, really? Even that question is controlled and governed by his grandmother. It is very unlikely that permission would be given at this time. The big concern for the Queen and the Palace advisors is if Ms Markle is suitable, no one wants another blow-up like the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson or another Diana. Other events that could play are the old age of Prince Philip at 96 or the death of the Queen and Charles becoming King, any and all family events can have an impact on him and on all other members of the Royal Family, Brexit may also be another factor.
Eventually as years go by Prince Harry will be so far from the succession line that no one will care who he marries or his shacked up with, the Palace will focus their attention on Prince William, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and his children George and Charlotte. Harry is destined to be like Princess Margaret (1930-2002) in the shadow of his sibling William. Let’s hope he does not start drinking and carousing. Let’s hope that Palace advisors find a role for him which is meaningful but that is not likely given the history of the family.
So yes Harry is a nice guy and has a nice public image and the press and the public love those interviews, they are so much fun and in the end gives a good image of the Royal Family.
This morning the Queen went to Parliament to read what is called the Queen Speech or the Throne Speech as we say in Canada. Because Prince Philip who is 96 is unwell with what appears to be a recurring bladder infection in hospital, it was the Prince of Wales and Heir to the Throne accompanied her.
They arrived by car taking a different route following Birdcage Walk Rd unto Great George Street bringing them directly to Parliament instead of following Pall Mall down through Admiralty Arch. It is just a 3 minute drive and it was certainly not the leisurely procession by carriage and horse mounted escort seen on such an occasion.
The Queen entered Westminster Palace through the Sovereign’s Entrance greeted by David Cholmondeley, KCVO, Lord Great Chamberlain who is an Officer of the Royal House.
She was not wearing the Robes of State, or the Imperial State Crown as is customary. Prince Charles was in morning dress.
The Crown which arrived in its own late model Rolls Royce, placed on a cushion and carried by one of the Great Officers of the Royal Household, it was placed on the right hand of the Sovereign. It all had the look of a hurry up event, this scaled back version is the first one since 1974. In fact when the Gentleman of the Black Rod was sent from the House of Peers to the House of Commons to summon the members to attend the Queen, one veteran member of the Labour Party Dennis Skinner said quite loudly, put on your skates, meaning that someone was in a hurry to go to Ascot for the races. Everyone laughed. It is understood he meant the Queen. The Queen read the speech with no great enthusiasm, going through the paces but trying not to give anything away. This is the Westminster parliamentary system and PM May does have to show that she can govern and given the chance to prove it. It is the same thing in Canada, as long as a Prime Minister has the confidence of the House, he or she can stay in Office.
From the speech it is clear that the current government of Theresa May will not last very long it was a hollow speech with nothing of significance in it. I expect a vote of no confidence and either the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will be asked to form a government or there will be fresh elections. Not a good start to the Brexit talks this week.
In the meantime in Canada, Parliament could go into recess today Wednesday or tomorrow Thursday depending on what the Senate will do with the Budget bill. Much protest by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about Senators trying to delay or question the content of the bill and the part relating to the Infrastructure Bank. This is all too strange, it is the Constitutional duty of the Senate to examine and raise question. The Government representative in the Senate, Peter Harder even went so far as too say that it was costing money to delay passage of the Budget bill. As if he was suggesting we could have democracy only if it was on the cheap. In an unheard of move, some government member and Minister Bardish Chaggar, Liberal House Leader even came to the Senate Chamber and stood at the bar to observe the vote of the Senators. This was seen by the Conservatives Senators as an intimidation gesture. What was also strange was the tabling of 4 new bills by the Government, on important matters. Obviously they will not be debated until the House returns in the Fall. There are also rumours of a Cabinet shuffle by PM Trudeau and a possible prorogation of Parliament in the Fall which would see all unfinished business abandoned unless the Government decided to re-table the same bills. It has also been announced that the Governor General David Johnston’s mandate will expire in September. So who will be the new Governor General? At any rate Members of Parliament are in a rush to go on vacation for the Summer.
The Senate Chamber in Parliament in Ottawa.
During the First World War, Canada sent 10% of its population to war, some 700,000 men and 2 million horses, fed Britain and provided tons of ammunition. The dead will number around 70,000 and thousands more gravely wounded, more disappeared never to be found. It was the first industrial war with new weapons of destruction never seen before, mustard gas, the machine gun, barbed wire, tanks. The military strategy was still the old 19th century style of throwing large numbers of men into battle in the hope gaining advantage, in this war it would result in horrific casualties each day, numbers of dead so great, censorship had to be applied so as to not depress and frighten the civilian population. In 1919 many Canadians asked what was this sacrifice for given the Armistice, no clear winner.
Canadians would see many terrible battle but the Vimy Ridge battle where Canadians fought for 3 days and won this battle is best remembered. Canada did not have to get involved in this European War but our government out of duty to the Empire and the King decided to participate.
At Vimy, attacking together for the first time, the four Canadian divisions stormed the ridge at 5:30am on 9 April 1917. More than 15,000 Canadian infantry overran the Germans all along the front. Incredible bravery and discipline allowed the infantry to continue moving forward under heavy fire, even when their officers were killed. There were countless acts of sacrifice, as Canadians single-handedly charged machine-gun nests or forced the surrender of Germans in protective dugouts. Hill 145, the highest and most important feature of the Ridge, and where the Vimy monument now stands, was captured in a frontal bayonet charge against machine-gun positions. Three more days of costly battle delivered final victory. The Canadian operation was an important success, even if the larger British and French offensive, of which it had been a part, had failed. But it was victory at a heavy cost: 3,598 Canadians were killed and another 7,000 wounded.
Vimy became a symbol for the sacrifice of the young Dominion of Canada. In 1922, the French government ceded to Canada in perpetuity Vimy Ridge, and the land surrounding it. The gleaming white marble and haunting sculptures of the Vimy Memorial, unveiled in 1936, stand as a terrible and poignant reminder of the 11,285 Canadian soldiers killed in France who have no known graves.
Here is the message of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, (in French)
Nous avons le devoir de nous souvenir et d’honorer Ia mémoire de ceux qui ont servi vaillamment et qui ont tant donné ici, sur la crete de Vimy, et tout au long de la Premiere Guerre mondiale.
The Canadian War Memorial at Vimy, France
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Join me as we wind back the time in Ottawa.