Canada holds the titles of the largest Commonwealth country, and the most visited by Her Majesty The Queen. Queen Elizabeth II, or as her Canadian title states – ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith’ – operates in Canada as a constitutional monarch. Therefore the Sovereign is represented by a Governor-General at the national level, and a Lieutenant-Governor in each ten provinces. Queen Elizabeth II has “delegated” her powers to Canada’s Prime Minster, and her representatives to make decisions on her behalf. Just like in the United Kingdom, The Queen remains neutral on political matters.
Legislators, anyone in public service and members of the military and police, all swear allegiance to Her Majesty. All new Canadian citizens also swear loyalty to The Queen of Canada.
Different members of the Royal Family act as ceremonial Colonels-in-Chief for various military regiments. With this, The Queen is the Commissioner-in-Chief, Prince Charles is Honorary Commissioner, and Prince Edward is Honorary Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Canada evolved under British colonial supervision, slowly gaining independence. This supervision is the main reason Canada’s government is so similar to the British version.
The Queen is represented in every day life in Canada. Her image appears on the currency, and images of her are used in any government building. A crown appears in Canada’s coat of arms, as well as the police and Canadian forces badges, and on stamps just to name a few.
There is a large list of Canadian organizations with royal patronage, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Royal British Columbia Museum, and the Royal Canadian Legion. These are associations in which a member of the Royal Family has volunteered their time or service in order to bring attention to the public. Canadians also celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday as a National holiday each year on the Monday before May 25th.
Since her first visit in 1951 as Princess Elizabeth, The Queen has visited Canada 20 times. Her Majesty and the other members of the Royal Family’s visits highlight the importance of the constitutional monarchy, as well as the causes they support. These causes include Save the Children, which the Princess Royal is president of, and The Prince’s Seeing is Believing, which is supported by the Prince of Wales.
When visiting her “second home” (as stated by The Queen herself), Her Majesty uses her Personal Canadian Flag. The flag displays the arms of Canada with the initial ‘E’ in the centre. The initial is surrounded by the St. Edward’s Crown within a gold caplet of roses on a blue background. It is flown, always, at any building in which she is in residence.
2014 has seen visits from The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, as well as The Princess Royal. Prince George, in British Columbia, has extended a formal invitation to Prince George and his parents, the Cambridges, to come to visit in 2015 and visit the mountain town to celebrate an assortment of milestones. Either way, Canadians always greet members of The Royal Family with great enthusiasm, and with the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian flag next year Canadians hope for many more high-profile visits.