By MPP Toby Barrett
Queen Elizabeth II is the only British Monarch in history properly trained to change a spark plug!
This statement, put out by British Forces News, exemplifies the character of our Queen.
Last Wednesday, Sept. 9th, we were afforded an opportunity to reflect on the historic 63-year reign-to-date of one of the most famous people on this planet, Elizabeth, Her Majesty, our Queen.
On that date, Elizabeth became out longest serving Monarch, overtaking Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years, seven months and two days.
Our allegiance to our Queen is to a Monarch, who at the age of 18 – during the Second World War – joined the British Army Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service serving as an army truck mechanic and as an ambulance and army truck driver.
In 1951, Elizabeth made the first of 23 official visits to Canada. Thanks to my grandmother taking me to Toronto, I have a vivid recollection of then-Princess Elizabeth and her motorcade. My grandmother also has described to me in detail what it was like on the day Victoria (1812-1901) passed away – the Queen’s great-great-grandmother – after a 63-year reign. Many people also will have stories and recollection of our Queen. Certainly for some that will include ceremonies held on Sept. 9th as we observed history in the making.
On June 2, 1953, Elizabeth became Queen at the age of 25. Born April 21, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor wasn’t the heir to the throne. Her Uncle Edward was next in line, but abdicated, resulting in Elizabeth’s father becoming King George. She became Monarch on his death, and was given the title: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
Elizabeth II has had a tremendous influence on people worldwide – not through raw power, but through her station in life, her personality and her determined hard work. She has touched us all whether many of us realize it or not.
Our Queen defies stereotypes of age continuing, at age 89, to have a busy schedule, interest in others and engagement with communities as her recipe for happiness and longevity – qualities we may all wish to emulate.
Prince Philip is 94 and has accompanied Her Majesty on every one of her 23 visits to Canada. In fact, he has been part of each of her 270 overseas tours of more than 100 countries – trips done by a woman who has never owned a passport.
The image of her Royal Highness appears on all our coinage, the $20 bill, as well as many postage stamps.
Entrenched in our constitution, Her Majesty is at once a human being and the incarnation of a bedrock institution of Canada, giving authority to both federal and provincial governments. For example, as elected MPPs we are not allowed to set foot in the Ontario Legislature until we have sworn an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen.
A politically neutral Monarch personifies the Canadian state, ensuring that our leaders remember that power is only lent to them by the Crown on behalf of voters, thus every law must be sanctioned in the name of the Monarch.
Her Majesty is the 40th Monarch since William the Conqueror.
God save the Queen. God bless and keep Her.