On Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Royal Family’s Scottish estate in Balmoral, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family. She was 96.
Here in Kingston, flags will fly at half mast until after her funeral.
“On behalf of the Kingston community, we extend our deepest condolences to the Royal Family at this difficult time,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson. “Her Majesty’s historic reign will be remembered as a legacy of duty, service, and compassion. She will be greatly missed by many here in Kingston and countless others around the world.”
Throughout her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II made six visits to the Kingston area. The first visit was in 1951, when then-Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, reviewed the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) cadets on parade. Her first visit as Queen was in 1959, when she and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, presided over the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
During their 1959 visit, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip attended a service at Sydenham Street United Church. According to the church website, the visit was considered a great success, thanks to the hard work of the Church’s committee members, and Queen Elizabeth II had “every reason to be pleased” with her choice of church.
Today, a small bronze plaque marks the pew where the Royals sat on Sunday, June 28, 1959, and a photo of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip entering the church resides safely in the archives. Read more about their visit here.
According to the Queen’s University Archives, Her Royal Highness, along with Prince Philip, also visited Kingston for these occasions:
- 1967 – Visit in celebration of the Centennial of Canada.
- 1973 – Visit in celebration of the Tercentenary of Kingston.
- 1976 – Visited on the occasion of the Olympic Games.
- 1984 – Visited Kingston as one stop in celebration of the bicentennial of Ontario.
“My wife Tara and I are saddened as people around the world are grieving the passing of Queen Elizabeth,” stated Ted Hsu, Kingston and the Islands MPP. “It marks the end of an era in Canada and the Commonwealth. Canada and the world have changed so much during Elizabeth’s 70-year reign, which was marked by a constant dedication to her work as monarch. “
According to Hsu, the Crown is an essential element of Canada’s Parliaments. “As a parliamentarian, I believe that Queen Elizabeth served in a way that provided stability, but also recognized progress, thereby supporting the provision of peace, order and good government,” he said.
“Elizabeth is the only monarch most Canadians have ever known. I felt the emotion of her passing when I heard the first mention of King Charles. I must admit that, for a long time, it will feel strangely out of place for me to hear the words of the royal anthem.
“I would like to offer my condolences to the Royal Family and all who mourn. May Her Majesty rest in peace. God Save the King.”
A book of condolences, donated by James Reid Funeral Home, will be available at the La Salle Mews office of MPP Ted Hsu between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., from Friday, Sept. 9, until the funeral. The book will be presented by MPP Hsu to the Crown, through Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, on behalf of the constituents of Kingston and the Islands.
Federal member of parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Mark Gerretsen, also expressed his condolences upon hearing of Her Majesty’s passing.
“Incredibly sad news. HM Queen Elizabeth II served with dignity her entire life. May she rest in peace,” he noted on social media when sharing the news.
Gerretsen’s office also offers constituents the opportunity to sign a book of condolences in memory of Queen Elizabeth II. “It has been set up in my office at 841 Princess for those who wish to sign it,” Gerretsen shared.
Queen’s University released a statement on Thursday, mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:
“Earlier this year, the world observed her Platinum Jubilee which marked her 70th year as Queen, the longest reign of any British monarch. Her commitment and dedication to her country and people was acknowledged worldwide. The university is lowering campus flags in tribute.”
According to the City of Kingston, it is anticipated that Canada will enter an official mourning period, and Kingston awaits any corresponding direction on the protocol from the federal government.
Until then, many Kingstonians will continue to recall past Royal visits to the First Capital of Canada, a city whose affinity to the monarchy is embedded in the synthesis of its very name: King’s Town.