A Tribute to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Since receiving the news of Her Majesty's passing on September 8th, we have felt deep sorrow over the loss of a beloved Sovereign, but also overwhelming gratitude for her unfailing devotion to all Canadians and people throughout the Commonwealth.
On behalf of all Nova Scotians, the Lieutenant Governor gives heartfelt condolences to His Majesty King Charles III, and all members of the Royal Family, who undoubtedly feel her absence during this time of mourning.
On February 6th, 1952, the then Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne following the death of her father, King George VI. At the age of 25 and during a time of personal grief, the constitutional and ceremonial duties of the Crown were placed on her shoulders. For many, these would be intimidating circumstances, but from the start, Queen Elizabeth II demonstrated grace, courage, and a strong commitment to her country and the Commonwealth.
On the day of her Coronation in 1953, Her Majesty pledged herself to service and this sense of duty was evident to all in the early years of her reign. During her first televised Christmas broadcast in 1957, The Queen said, “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice. But I can do something else. I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.”
She remained steadfast in her commitment despite intense periods of political, social, economic and technological change that followed. Through times of global and national transition and uncertainty, Her Majesty walked beside us, offering words of wisdom, courage and hope. Because of her determination to uphold her duties regardless of the circumstances, she provided Canadians with avenues to advance our cultural heritage and move forward as a nation.
One of the most significant moments in modern Canadian history involved her role in the Proclamation of our Patriated Constitution and the establishment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her signature on these documents in 1982 placed the Constitution Act under the authority of Canada’s federal and provincial legislatures, and protected the rights and freedoms of Canadian citizens, residents and newcomers.
While she held the respect of politicians and decision makers, Her Majesty captured the hearts of Canadians with her warmth and generosity of spirit. And it is well known that our nation held a special place in her heart as well – she visited Canada more often than any other nation in the Commonwealth.
During twenty-two visits to our county, including five separate stays in Nova Scotia, she gathered with citizens and residents to celebrate significant milestones, such as the 400th anniversary of the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou, the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy, and 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Many of us still smile when we remember Her Majesty dropping the puck at an NHL game in Vancouver.
Her interest in people was not limited to ceremonial events. Public and voluntary work were top priorities and she served as a Royal Patron or President to over 600 charities. On visits to our province, The Queen regularly spoke with veterans, visited hospitals, met with steel workers in Cape Breton and attended band performances by high school students. Her sincere interest in the lives of others left an impression on many.
Over the past week, many Nova Scotians have shared personal memories of meeting The Queen. Despite the variety of circumstances, there is one commonality: each memory centers on her warmth, ability to listen, and a presence that made each individual feel like the only person in the room. These are remarkable gifts, and perhaps, are the greatest evidence of her legacy: a Sovereign who selflessly gave of herself in the service of others.
With the passing of Her Majesty, the Platinum Jubilee Year, which marked her extraordinary 70 years of service, comes to a close. However, the strength that Nova Scotians have drawn from The Queen’s devotion to Canada will remain with us for generations to come. In honour of all that she was and all that she has done, we recommit ourselves to service and continue to build a province where all can live with dignity and peace.
May she rest in peace.