Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee and the History of the Crown in Saskatchewan
In this historic year, marking the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne, Saskatchewan is celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and the province’s unique place within the constitutional monarchy of Canada.
The Crown in Saskatchewan enjoys a strong history, with frequent visits by members of the Royal Family. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Saskatchewan this May, part of a Royal Tour of Canada, with visits also to New Brunswick and Ontario, to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy
Canada has been a constitutional monarchy since Confederation. In fact, a king or queen has been head of state for more than 500 years in what has become our country, hundreds of years before the nation itself was fully formed.
Canada is a parliamentary democracy, a federal state with political power in two jurisdictions, the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments.
Canada is also a constitutional monarchy, with its head of state a hereditary monarch: a king or queen. While the role of the monarchy has changed over the centuries, from governing to reigning but not ruling, the monarchy has remained a symbol of our shared values and national identity.
The Queen is a shared monarch. Head of the Commonwealth, an association of 54 nations around the world The Queen is sovereign of 16 countries. In Canada, The Queen is represented by the Governor General, and in Saskatchewan The Queen is represented by the Lieutenant Governor, who plays an important constitutional role in the governing of the province. The Lieutenant Governor, among many duties, reads the Speech from the Throne, formally appoints Premiers and Cabinet Ministers, opens and closes, (or prorogues) Legislative Sessions, approves legislation, and bestows Honours of the Crown.
Royal Visits to Saskatchewan
Members of the Royal Family have been visiting what is now Saskatchewan since 1882, well before it entered Confederation as a province in 1905.
Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria, was the first member of the Royal Family to visit, with her husband, the Marquis of Lorne, Governor General of Canada. They named the capital city of the then North-West Territories, Regina – Latin for Queen – in honour of Queen Victoria.
Members of the Royal Family have visited Saskatchewan 32 times since then.
In 1901, The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, the future King George V and Queen Mary, visited. Soon after the First World War The Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII, came in 1919 to offer his appreciation to Saskatchewan people for their war efforts. In 1927, he returned with his brother, the future King George VI.
The historic, epic cross-country train tour by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, parents of the present Queen, was the first visit to Canada by a reigning monarch. They arrived in 1939, the prospect of another world war looming. Thousands of people in Saskatchewan, everywhere in the nation, greeted the Royal Couple along their tour. The visit is remembered as a needed morale boost after the Depression and drought of the 1930s, and with the imminent onset of the Second World War.
The first time The Queen visited Saskatchewan she was Princess Elizabeth. With the Duke of Edinburgh, they crossed Canada on a tour in 1951, a year prior to her accession to the throne. The Queen and Prince Philip have visited Saskatchewan five times since.
In 1959, this time as Queen and consort, they again undertook an extensive tour of Canada. They visited Regina in 1973 to recognize and celebrate the centennial of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1978, The Queen and Prince Philip, with their youngest son Prince Edward, had toured the province. The Queen and Prince Philip again toured Saskatchewan in 1987.
In 2005 they celebrated Saskatchewan’s centennial in Regina, Lumsden and Saskatoon.
The Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, first visited Saskatchewan in 1958. In 1980, she visited to help celebrate the province’s 75th anniversary. In 1982, Princess Anne, daughter of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, became Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regina Rifles. In 1985, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, visited Regina briefly in for the first and only time since 1939. The Queen’s second son, the Duke of York (Prince Andrew), and the Duchess of York toured the province in 1989.
In 2001, the eldest son of the Queen, the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), Heir to the Throne, came to Saskatchewan. He was invested as the first honorary member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and received a traditional Cree name: Kisikawpisin Ma Kamiyowahpahmikoot, meaning “The sun watches over him in a good way”.
These were official visits, and Saskatchewan has also arranged more informal tours, or working visits. Prince Edward visited in 1994, when he was Patron of Regina’s Globe Theatre. He returned in 2003 as Earl of Wessex to celebrate the centennials of Regina, Lloydminster, Moose Jaw and Melfort. He also opened the First Nations University of Canada, and become Colonel-in-Chief of the Saskatchewan Dragoons.
In 2004, Princess Anne, now the Princess Royal, marked the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings with her regiment, the Royal Regina Rifles, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Regina. The Earl of Wessex returned in 2006 to visit Regina’s Globe Theatre and regiment, and he was invested as the second honorary member of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. Princess Anne returned in 2007 to mark the 100th anniversary of her regiment, the Royal Regina Rifles.
The Crown in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan has evolved and been shaped by myriad influences and factors and, as it does with all of Canada in each province and territory, the Crown occupies a special place.
Treaties were signed on behalf of the Crown with First Nations. People came, and still come, to our province from all over the world seeking the peace and stability embodied in our constitutional monarchy. Within our province the Office of the Lieutenant Governor is respected as a non partisan, unifying institution.
Honours of the Crown help us recognize the contributions of the province’s people and visits from members of the Royal Family remind citizens of their heritage, bringing them together to celebrate the Crown in Saskatchewan. Celebrate this year, the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.