While driving through the town, I found a man outside his home, bringing the Canadian Flag to half mast. I checked the news feed and learnt that Queen Elizabeth, Canada’s head of state, dead at 96.
The British Monarch remains the constitutional head of state of Canada and the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, no matter who holds the role. Hence, the succession from the Queen to her eldest son Charles is automatic.
After Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne on 6 Feb 1952, fifteen Canadian Prime Ministers have been in office. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days was the longest for any British monarch and the second longest recorded for any monarch of a sovereign country. (Longest reigning monarch was Louis XIV of France, who reigned from 14th May 1643 until 1st September 1715 —72 years and 110 days.)
In the past four decades since I learnt about her, she matured into her senior years with josh and cheer. Her dress sense and choice of colours befitted her royal status and it always stood out. Who will ever miss her signature Launer handbag she always carried? She reportedly owned more than 200 of them!
The contents of her handbag was no different from what normal women carry with them. It mostly contained a mirror, lipstick, mint lozenges, and her reading glasses.
It is said that the Queen used her handbags to signal to her staff to help her wriggle out of difficult situations. If she shifted the handbag on her left arm (where she normally carried it) to her right arm, it indicated that it was time to wrap up. If she placed her handbag on the floor, it signaled to her staff that she needed to be saved from an uncomfortable conversation. If she placed her handbag on the dinner table, it meant that she wanted to end the event in the next five minutes.
Prince Charles was appointed Field Marshal of the British Army, Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal Navy and Marshal of the Royal Air Force in June 2012. His appointment to the honorary five-star ranks recognised his support for the Queen as Commander-in-Chief.
In Canada’s system of government, the power to govern is vested in the Crown but is entrusted to the government to exercise on behalf and in the interest of the people. The Crown reminds the government of the day that the source of the power to govern rests elsewhere and that it is only given to them for a limited duration.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a befitting tribute to Canada’s longest-reigning Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, calling her a person of ‘wisdom, compassion and warmth.’
The Crown in Canada was first established by the kings of France in the sixteenth century. Organised as a royal province of France, both French and British kings and queens have reigned over Canada since 1534. Under Canada’s sovereigns, the country has evolved from a French colony to an independent nation.
From 2009, Prince Charles holds the rank of Lieutenant-General in the Canadian Army & Air Force and Vice-Admiral in the Royal Canadian Navy. The Queen and other members of the Canadian Royal Family hold honorary positions in various branches and regiments embodying the historical relationship of the Crown with the Canadian armed forces.
From 2015, in New Zealand, like in UK, he is the Field Marshal of the New Zealand Army, Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal New Zealand Navy and Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
Charles’s official coronation won’t take place immediately following a period of mourning for the Queen. A coronation is not necessary to become king—Edward VIII reigned as King without ever being crowned. After Queen Elizabeth’s accession on February 6, 1952, her coronation took place on June 2, 1953, over a year later.
Charles, whose regal name is King Charles III, is set to travel to London with Camilla, who is now the Queen Consort, to oversee the preparations for the funeral
The Guardian in 2017 reported that in the event of the Queen’s death, her funeral would take place nine days after her passing. Hence, it might be held on Saturday September 17. The funeral ceremony will commence at 9 AM, when Big Ben will chime with a muffled hammer. The funeral cortege will arrive at the at Westminster Abbey where she will be laid to rest.
(Images Courtesy Pixabay.com)