Our Monarchy

Royal Family
 - HM The Queen
 - The Royal Family
 - Line of Succession



Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada

Queen Elizabeth II was born in London on April 21, 1926. Her Majesty was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1936.

Princess Elizabeth was educated at home with Princess Margaret, her younger sister. During that time, the future queen learned French. As a teenager, Princess Elizabeth began to take part in public life. Her Majesty gave her first radio address at age 14 as bombs dropped on London during the Second World War.

Five years later, Her Majesty learned how to drive a car and obtained the rank of Junior Commander in the women's branch of the British Army.

Marriage and family

After the war, Princess Elizabeth's marriage caught the world's attention. On November 20, 1947, Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.

The Queen and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh have four children and eight grandchildren. Prince Charles, now The Prince of Wales, Heir to the Throne, was born in 1948. Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, was born two years later. Prince Andrew, now The Duke of York was born in 1960, and Prince Edward, now The Earl of Wessex arrived in 1964.

Elizabeth becomes Queen

On February 6, 1952, the 25-year-old received news of her father's sudden death. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.

Millions watched the first televised British coronation, and others listened by radio. Canadian guests at the coronation included Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas.

In 1953, a Canadian law, the Royal Style and Titles Act, formally conferred upon Elizabeth II the title of Queen of Canada.

Throughout her reign, Canada has seen many key historical developments: our evolution as a bilingual and multicultural society, our rededication to democratic principles and our enhancement of a collective sense of shared values and purpose. She has been, and continues to be, a fundamental part of that identity. As the Prime Minister stated in his congratulatory message to Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Her Accession to the Throne (February 6, 2002):

"As Queen of Canada, you have borne witness to our national growth and, indeed, have been present for many historic moments in the life of our country. I have had the honour to be in your presence on numerous occasions, and have always admired your commitment to Canada and your very genuine affection for Canadians."

Charitable work and military appointments

Although the Queen celebrated her 80th birthday in 2006, she continues to champion public and voluntary service around the world. She is patron of more than 600 charities and organizations.

Her Majesty uses her patronage and prestige to raise awareness about issues in Canada ranging from health care to multiculturalism. She is patron of more than 30 charitable and military organizations in Canada.

The Queen continues to highlight the critical role of the Canadian Forces by serving as Colonel in Chief of more than a dozen regiments across Canada.

On numerous fronts, The Queen’s relationship with Canada and Canadians continues to grow stronger with each passing year. She has given her patronage to many Canadian organizations and retains a special relationship with the Canadian Forces. Further, as our Head of State, she is the fount of our Canadian Honours System that recognizes significant achievement and service of Canadians in numerous fields of human endeavour, such as the Order of Canada, Order of Military Merit, as well as decorations for bravery, meritorious service and for gallantry.

Visits to Canada

Over the past fifty three years, Her Majesty has maintained a very visible and significant presence in our country. She has indeed been witness to many historic occasions. In 1957, she officially opened the 1st session of the 23rd Parliament; presided over the inauguration of the St-Lawrence Seaway in 1959; celebrated the Centennial of Confederation with Canadians in 1967; declared open the XXIst Olympiad in Montreal in 1976; was honoured for her Silver Jubilee anniversary in 1977; proclaimed the Constitution Act, 1982 which emcompasses the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; officiated at the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton in 1978 and Victoria in 1994 to name but a few.

In 2002, Canadians turned out in record numbers to greet The Queen during Golden Jubilee celebrations. In 2012, The Queen will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee - her 60th anniversary as Queen.

(Source: Department of Canadian Heritage)

    Updated: 2010-06-27