Monarchy in British Columbia: Wikis


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Queen in Right of British Columbia
Coat of Arms of British Columbia.png
Royal Coat of Arms of British Columbia
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg
Elizabeth II
Queen of Canada

Since 6 February 1952
Style: Her Majesty
First monarch: Victoria
Formation: 20 July 1871
Residence: Government House, Victoria

By the arrangements of the Canadian federation, the Canadian monarchy operates in British Columbia as the core of the province's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy;[1] and is thus the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the province's government.[2] As such, the Crown, as it operates in the jurisdiction, is referred to as The Crown in Right of British Columbia,[3] Her Majesty in Right of British Columbia,[4] or The Queen in Right of British Columbia.[5] The Constitution Act, 1867, however, leaves many royal duties in British Columbia specifically assigned to the sovereign's viceroy, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia,[1] whose direct participation in governance is limited by the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy.[6]


Constitutional monarchy in British Columbia

David Lam, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia from 1988 to 1995.

The Crown functions in British Columbia in the same way it does in all of Canada's other provinces, with the Canadian monarch – since 6 February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II – being represented and her duties carried out by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. This arrangement began with an 1871 Order-in-Council by Queen Victoria,[1] and continued an unbroken line of monarchical government extending back to the late 1700s. However, though British Columbia has a separate government headed by the Queen, as a province, British Columbia is not itself a kingdom.[7]

Government House in Victoria is used both as an official residence by the Lieutenant Governor, as well as the place where the sovereign and other members of the Canadian Royal Family will reside when in British Columbia. The mansion is owned by the sovereign in her capacity as Queen in Right of British Columbia, and not as a private individual; the house and other Crown property is held in trust for future rulers and cannot be sold by the monarch except by her Lieutenant Governor with the proper advice and consent from the Executive Council of British Columbia. However, members of the Royal Family have owned property in a private capacity: Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, sister of Queen Elizabeth II, owned Portland Island, though this was offered on permanent loan to the Crown in Right of British Columbia.[8]


Royal associations

British Columbia's monarchical status is illustrated via associations between the Crown and many private organizations within the province, as well as through royal names applied regions, communities, schools, buildings, and monuments, many of which may also have a specific history with a member or members of the Royal Family. As well, there can be found plaques, cornerstones, and trees, documenting the official visits of members of the Royal Family.[8] Those in the Royal Family perform ceremonial duties when on a tour of the province, officiating at ceremonial events, as well as visiting hospitals, charities, schools, communities, and the like. Gifts are sometimes offered from the people of British Columbia to the royal person to mark a visit or an important milestone; for instance, the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people's Capilano Indian Community Club of North Vancouver in 1953 gave the Duke of Edinburgh a walking stick in the form of a totem pole,[9] and Queen Elizabeth II was given both a totem pole by the City of Nanaimo and a necklace and earrings made of British Columbia jade to mark her visit in 1971.[10] As part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations, this gift was amongst others on display at Buckingham Palace throughout the summer.[8]

Organizations in British Columbia may be founded by a Royal Charter, receive a royal prefix, and/or be honoured with the patronage of a member of the Royal Family, such as the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, which is under the patronage of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, along with the Vancouver Rowing Club, and the Vancouver Raquets Club, and the Royal British Columbia Museum, which received its royal prefix from Queen Elizabeth II in 1986. Further, though the monarch does not form a part of the constitutions of British Columbia's honours, they do stem from the Crown as the fount of honour, and so bear on the insignia a St. Edward's Crown and/or an effigy and/or Royal Cypher of the sovereign.


Premier W.A.C. Bennett and his wife greet Princess Margaret in Victoria, August, 1958.

In March 1778, when James Cook arrived at Friendly Cove in Nootka Sound, he claimed the surrounding land for King George III.[11] However, Juan Francisco had earlier made a claim to much of the Pacific coast of North America for the Spanish King,[12] and ensuing conflicts were eventually resolved with Spain agreeing to relinquish all claims north of California. Thereafter, colonial governments were set up in 1849 and 1858, wherein the British monarch was represented and her royal authority exercised by local governors.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth greet Canadians from the back of the Royal Train, in Hope, British Columbia, 1939.

It was in 1871 that the Crown in British Columbia began to take on its present day Canadian aspect, as, with the joining of the west coast colonies into Canadian Confederation, the new post of Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia represented the monarch of Canada in her own Canadian council, though she still ultimately governed through her council of British ministers. Some 11 years later, the then Governor General of Canada, The Duke of Argyll, and his wife and daughter of the Queen, Princess Louise, undertook an extensive three month visit to British Columbia, which did much to reconcile the local inhabitants to Confederation.[13][14] The Princess proved so popular that when the Governor General announced that the awaited completion of the transcontinental railway would pass through Kicking Horse Pass into what has since become Vancouver, rather than by the Yellowhead Pass to Bute Inlet, then Premier Robert Beaven asked the Duke whether it would be possible for Vancouver Island to become a separate kingdom with Princess Louise as Queen.[15] After the turn of the 20th century, Canada's Governor General, then Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, toured British Columbia and laid the cornerstone for the new Provincial Library at the provincial parliament building, and, in September 1919, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) toured areas of greater Vancouver, attending a civic reception and military ball, as well as opening the New Westminster Exhibition.[16] The Prince also went on to Victoria, where he laid the foundation stone of a statue of Queen Victoria on the grounds of the provincial parliament building.[8]

Edward's brother, King George VI, became the first reigning monarch to visit British Columbia when in 1939 he and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, stopped in Vancouver, Victoria, and a number of other smaller communities. The monarchs' minister in attendance, Prime Minister of Canada William Lyon Mackenzie King, was enthused, stating in his diary on May 29, 1939: "The day in Vancouver was one of the finest on the entire tour," and, the following day: "Without question, Victoria has left the most pleasing of all impressions. It was a crowning gem..."[17] Only a few months later, the King had, on the advice of his Canadian Crown ministers, declared war on Nazi Germany; it was thought that George VI and his family would be evacuated to British Columbia, residing at Hatley Castle.[18] These plans fell through, however, and the Royal Roads Military College moved in.

Their daughter, Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, made her first appearance in British Columbia in 1951, on behalf of her ailing father, and thereafter returned to British Columbia a number of times as queen, including in 1959, when Premier W.A.C. Bennett's request that the Queen read the Speech From the Throne at the opening of a session of the legislature was turned town for being constitutionally impossible;[19] in 1971, to celebrate the centennial of the province's entry into Confederation; and in 1994, when she opened the University of Northern British Columbia.[20] In 2002, for her Golden Jubilee celebrations, Elizabeth II toured British Columbia, during which she, along with Wayne Gretzky, performed a first: dropping the ceremonial puck at the beginning of an National Hockey League exhibition game, in front of a cheering crowd of over 18,000 people. Premier Gordon Campbell said during the visit: "Your Majesty, much as the world has changed in the last 50 years, one thing has always remained constant – the sincere affection between the people of British Columbia and their Queen."[21] The Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, also toured British Columbia; during her 1958 visit, the Princess opened the new floating bridge in Kelowna, with two plaques marking the ceremony.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Victoria (16 May 1871), British Columbia Terms of Union, 10, Westminster: Queen's Printer,, retrieved 16 June 2009  
  2. ^ Privy Council Office (2008). Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State – 2008. Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-100-11096-7. Retrieved 17 May 2009.  
  3. ^ Uukw et al. v. R. In Right of British Columbia and Registrar, Prince Rupert Land Title District, [1988 1 C.N.L.R. 173 ] (British Columbia Court of Appeal 2 April 1987).
  4. ^ Elizabeth II (1 April 2005), British Columbia Treaty Commission Act, 2, Victoria: Queen's Printer for British Columbia,, retrieved 23 June 2009  
  5. ^ British Columbia v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., [2005 2 S.C.R. 473, 2005 SCC 49 ] (Supreme Court of Canada 8 June 2005).
  6. ^ MacLeod, Kevin S. (2008), A Crown of Maples (1 ed.), Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, p. 16, ISBN 978-0-662-46012-1,  
  7. ^ Forsey, Eugene (31 December 1974), "Crown and Cabinet", in Forsey, Eugene, Freedom and Order: Collected Essays, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd., ISBN 978-0771097737  
  8. ^ a b c d e British Columbia Archives. "The Legacy". Queen's Printer for British Columbia. Retrieved 25 June 2009.  
  9. ^ The Royal Collection. "e-Gallery > Exhibitions > Queen & Commonwealth > Gifts > Walking stick". Queen's Printer. Retrieved 26 July 2009.  
  10. ^ The Royal Collection Gifts, Totem pole
  11. ^ Williams, Glyn (1 August 2002), Captain Cook: Explorer, Navigator and Pioneer, BBC, p. 4,, retrieved 24 June 2009  
  12. ^ Sanchez, Antonio (14 April 2004), "Spanish Exploration: Hezeta (Heceta) and Bodega y Quadra Expedition of 1775 to Formally Claim the Pacific Northwest for Spain", in Long, Priscilla, The Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, Seattle: HistoryLink  
  13. ^ Department of Canadian Heritage. "Ceremonial and Canadian Symbols Promotion > The Canadian Monarchy > 2005 Royal Visit > The Royal Presence in Canada - A Historical Overview". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 8 May 2007.  
  14. ^ Ormsby, Margaret A. (1958). British Columbia: A History. Vancouver: Macmillan. p. 287.  
  15. ^ Ormsby 1958, p. 289
  16. ^ Davis, Chuck. "History of Metropolitain Vancouver > 1919". Chuck Davis. Retrieved 24 June 2009.  
  17. ^ King, William L.M. (30 May 1939), "Diary", in Hoogenraad, Maureen, Biography and People > A Real Companion and Friend > Politics, Themes, and Events from King's Life > The Royal Tour of 1939, Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada,, retrieved 24 June 2009  
  18. ^ Campagnolo, Iona (5 February 2007) (in English), Speech to the Retired Heads of Mission Association's Gala Dinner, Victoria: Queen's Printer for British Columbia,, retrieved 21 February 2009  
  19. ^ Toporoski, Richard (June 2006). "Can the Queen Grant Royal Assent in a Provincial Legislature?: No". Canadian Monarchist News (Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada) Fall-Winter 2005 (24): 19. Retrieved 5 July 2009.  
  20. ^ British Columbia Archives. "Chronology of Principal Royal Visits to British Columbia". Queen's Printer for British Columbia. Retrieved 25 June 2009.  
  21. ^ "Queen drops puck, raises cheer in arena" (in English). CBC. 7 October 2002. Retrieved 24 June 2009.  

External links


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