The Diamond Jubilee celebrations over the next few days will reinforce the image of the Queen as “gracious, selfless and courageous.” These words appeared in a 1964 Globe editorial, and nothing has happened in the intervening years to change that assessment. The Queen has been a special gift to Canada.
That same Globe editorial argued that, “in our parliamentary system, the throne is the only certain and continuing institution.” Indeed, through six decades of turbulent change, the Queen has provided an example of relentless service, duty and constancy. But in the twilight of her reign, it is the “continuing” nature of the Crown that is being emphasized by the Palace.
This was evident during the recent visit to Canada of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and will be underscored on Tuesday when the traditional Royal Family is reduced to a nuclear family. For the Golden Jubilee, some 19 members of the extended Royal Family appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. On Tuesday, it has been announced there will only be seven, the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Harry.
In 1951, Princess Elizabeth declared, “We belong to Canada.” Indeed, she does. Appropriately, Governor-General David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will represent Canada, along with many Canadians in the crowd. The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will see several entrants under the maple leaf flag including from the Canadian Heraldic Authority and the Royal Canadian Navy, along with dragonboaters and a voyageur canoe. A new Canadian official portrait of the Queen for Rideau Hall will be unveiled to commemorate this long and successful reign.
The Queen of Canada has earned our respect and our allegiance, but it is the Crown that is woven into the fabric of Canada. That is the message of the Queen's long service, and that is the message of this Diamond Jubilee year.