Celebrating Our Queen

Tomorrow, September 9th, our Queen will become the longest-reigning Sovereign in modern Canadian history, and the longest in all of British history. For nearly 64 years, Elizabeth II has reigned over a diverse and sometimes troubled Commonwealth of Nations, and somehow she has only become more beloved over time.

queen then and now

For her part, Her Majesty seems not likely to mark this historic milestone in an official way. That said, celebrations are taking place across the Commonwealth. In Canada, we have a particularly unique set of celebrations scheduled in municipalities from coast to coast. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our Dominion and Branch officers, and with the cooperation of municipal representatives and employees, well over 125 towns, cities and villages will be hosting a simple commemoration tomorrow in their communities. The municipalities range in size from Flowers Cove, NL, to Mississauga, ON.

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In New Brunswick, at least nine municipalities will be hosting celebrations, and at Government House in Fredericton several events, including a stunning exhibit on the province’s connection with the Crown, will highlight the significance of the day.

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Elizabeth II has given her entire adult life in service to her people. In her 90th year, she seems well poised to continue, as long as her excellent health should continue. May she continue to reign, gloriously, over each and every one of us.

God Save the Queen!

Branch launches Graydon and Beth Nicholas Essay Contest!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
13 March 2015
Fredericton, NB

Graydon and Beth Nicholas Essay Prize Launched

His Honour the Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Nicholas in a private audience with HM The Queen in 2010

The provincial Branch of the Monarchist League of Canada recently launched an exciting new essay prize for high school students in Anglophone West School District.

The prize is named in honour of Hon. Graydon Nicholas and his wife, Beth, who for five years, from 2009 to 2014, served the Sovereign and the people of this province with great distinction. As Lieutenant Governor and Chatelaine of Government House, His Honour and Mrs. Nicholas brought great dignity to the Office and were enthusiastic promoters of the Crown in New Brunswick.

“In honour of their unfailing support of the Crown and of our organization, of which His Honour was Patron, the NB Branch designed this award as an ongoing tribute to His Honour and Mrs. Nicholas,” said Barry MacKenzie, Co-Chairman of the Branch. “Because of their commitment to education, we were doubly confident that a prize encouraging high school students in their learning process was a most fitting farewell gift for our esteemed friends.”

The contest runs until May 1st and is open to all students in grades 9-12 in Anglophone West School District. In 2016, the League plans to open the contest up to students across the Province. Entries must be in the form of a formal research essay (at least three pages, and not to exceed five pages, in length) on any topic of the student’s choice which relates to the Monarchy in Canada. Suggested topics and resources can be offered to students and their teachers by the Branch. The winner will be announced and the prize presented around the Victoria Day holiday weekend, when Canada celebrates the Queen’s Birthday.

All entries must be submitted by May 1st, 2015, by email to communications@monarchistnb.ca, or by regular mail to the P.O. Box 133 Station A, Fredericton, NB, E3B 4Y2

The Hanoverian Succession – 300 Years On

A significant royal anniversary recently passed us by, and I did not want to let it go by completely unnoticed or without comment. I don’t find as much time to post on this blog as I might like to do, but this is an important milestone for our Monarchy.

The 1st of August 2014 marked the three hundredth anniversary of the death of Queen Anne of Great Britain, the last of the unfortunate Stewarts to reign over Scotland and England. The reigns of her predecessors, stretching back to her great-grandfather, James VI of Scotland and I of England, were often marred by ill relations with Parliament. Few others are more well-known for their dealings with the House of Commons than Anne’s grandfather, Charles I, whose head was among the many things rent asunder by Cromwell and his cronies. And James II, Anne’s unfortunate father, was driven from his kingdom for his Catholicism. James’ ‘abdication’ paved the way for the accession of his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and William, the champions of “The Protestant Succession”, and later his second daughter, Anne.

Charles II and James II

Charles II and James II

By the time of Queen Anne’s death, however, relations between Sovereign and Parliament were somewhat improved, but it was at the expense of the Royal Prerogatives and Powers. It would the next several Sovereigns who succeeded Queen Anne who completed the process of evolution towards Constitutional Monarchy in Britain and thus also in Canada.

Queen Anne was succeeded by Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover, who was a descendant of James I through his daughter Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, and who became King George I. Queen Anne had far less distant relations who could have become the next Sovereign (a wikipedia list gives a list of 55 individuals who had a better claim to the throne than Georg Ludwig at the time of the Queen’s death in 1714) but the Act of Settlement, 1701, barred them from the throne for their Catholicism. This discriminatory part of the British Constitution (and subsequently of the constitutions of the independent nations of the Commonwealth) was repealed prior to the birth of Prince George of Cambridge, along with male primogeniture and the 1774 requirement for all descendants of George II to ask the Queen’s permission to marry.

King George I in his Coronation Robes

King George I in his Coronation Robes

The succession of the Hanoverian dynasty changed the course of British and Commonwealth constitutional history. That much is certain. It led to the two Jacobite Rebellions and all the associated unpleasantness between England and Scotland. There’s little point in speculating exactly how differently things would have turned out if King James’ son “The Old Pretender” has ascended the throne in place of the George I. Might the old Stewart belief in the Divine Right of Kings have reared its head and caused the downfall of the Monarchy? Or might the dynasty which established British rule over America have been more successful in avoiding the Revolutionary War? The “what ifs” are endless.

What we do know is the the reigns of the first four Georges, William IV and Queen Victoria ushered in the style of constitutional monarchy which we enjoy today. It was an era during which the Sovereign ceased to rule and instead reigned over his/her subjects. And it undoubtedly the flexibility of the Monarchy in Britain and the Commonwealth which has allowed it to survive in an era where Kings and Queens are far outnumbered by Presidents and Dictators.

Canada Welcomes the Heir to the Throne

Drenched with rain though we may be, today Maritimers are preparing to welcome to their region the heir to the Canadian Throne. Charles, Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, are due to arrive at 6:30pm today at Halifax Stanfield International Airport to begin a whirlwind Tour of Canada to mark several important milestones.

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This will be the Prince of Wales’ 17th Canadian Homecoming (a phrase we monarchists like to use because it highlights the fact that members of our Royal Family are not foreign visitors but members of our national family, and as such are coming “home” each time they set foot on our soil), and the third for his charming.

This is, in fact, their third Canadian Homecoming in less than five years. It is part of a welcome phenomenon of frequent (albeit often brief) Tours by members of our Royal Family. In 2009, it was Charles and Camilla; in 2010, The Queen and Prince Philip; in 2011, William and Kate; in 2013, private working visits by several Royals; and now, 2014, the heir to the throne and his delightful wife.

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Royal Homecomings have never been so frequent as they have recently become, and this is no doubt due in part to the very pro-monarchist attitude of the sitting Conservative government in Ottawa. It is likely also a result of The Prince of Wales’ own desire to familiarize himself further with the people over whom he will one day be called upon to reign as King of Canada. 

It is for this same reason that Tours to other parts of the Commonwealth are increasingly being undertaken by more junior members of the Royal Family, as the Queen herself knows how important it is that the transition following her death (God willing, that time will not come for many more years) be seamless. The stability of Monarchy has always relied on a strong image and a clear line of succession, and so Canadians (like Australians, Jamaicans, and others of the Queen’s subjects) need to be able to imagine Charles as their King. William and Kate (and now our darling George) are increasing their own Royal workloads so that the Queen’s Realms can also see a future beyond the Prince of Wales and into another century.

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I think all Canadian monarchists are delighted to have such frequent opportunities to see in person members of our Royal Family. The more often they come among us, the surer will be the future of the Canadian Crown. 

Although I regret being unable to be in Halifax, Pictou, or Charlottetown to see our future King and Queen in person, I join the rousing chorus of monarchists everywhere in bidding them welcome! And, I might add, come again!

League to present token of appreciation to 3 Field Regiment on Victoria Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
15 May 2014
Fredericton, NB

21 Gun Salute to Mark Queen’s Canadian Birthday

Monday, May 19th is Victoria Day, a day when Canadians mark the official Canadian birthday of our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. Although she was born on 21 April 1926, since her accession to the throne in 1952 the Queen’s birthday has always been observed on the Monday preceding May 25, following a tradition which dates back in various forms to the reign of Queen Victoria, the first Sovereign of a confederated Canada.

In recent years, Victoria Day has been observed only in low-key ways in most parts of Canada. Federal buildings, for example, are required to fly the Royal Union Flag (the Union Jack) on public buildings where physical arrangements allow (i.e., there is more than one flag pole, the other of which would fly our National Flag). The Royal Union Flag is an official symbol of Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth and of our allegiance to the Crown. This particular way of marking the Queen’s birthday may not attract much attention.

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However, an annual tradition carried out by 3 Field Regiment RCA, The Loyal Company, based in Saint John, is hard to miss. This Monday, at 12 noon, the Regiment will fire a 21-gun salute in the parking lot behind the Victoria Health Centre, next to Government House, in Fredericton.

Members of the public are welcomed and encouraged to attend. This year, the NB Branch of the Monarchist League will be on hand to present a small token of appreciation to The Loyal Company. “We appreciate the efforts made by The Loyal Company to honour our Queen, and we hope that many New Brunswickers will gather near Government House to hear the guns boom out their salute,” says Barry MacKenzie, Chairman of the League in New Brunswick. “Victoria is made all the more significant to Canada this year by the presence of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (who birthday will one day be honoured in this way, when he becomes King) and The Duchess of Cornwall.”

Defending the Monarchy in the Media (again!)

This was the letter I sent to the Editor of the Telegraph Journal this morning in response to a letter (which follows) from a writer in Vancouver. If you see similar letters in your local papers, please let us know so that the League can respond in a timely fashion. We must always be quick to respond when the dignity of the Crown is threatened. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
 
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Dear Editor:
 
I fear that Mr. Cunningham in Vancouver has shown a misunderstanding of the true nature of Quebec separatism in his May 6th letter to you on the subject of the abolition of the Monarchy. Mr. Cunningham would have your readers believe that putting an end to the system of government that has served us well for nearly 150 years (and beyond) would somehow put an end to the crisis of national unity which sometimes arises.
 
There is no question that recent polls have suggested that support for the monarchy is lower in Quebec than in other provinces in Canada, but I fail to see the chain of evidence which proves that this lack of fervent monarchism in La Belle Province is the main reason that separatists are dissatisfied with the status quo.
 
In pointing to Australia for an example of a nation making great strides towards abolishing the monarchy, Mr. Cunningham has chosen a poor illustration, and also contradicts his earlier statement about monarchy being a system which is hard to market. The republican movement in Australia is in fact at its lowest ebb in generations, and I think the electoral defeat of the republican Ms. Gillard is proof of that development. What little hope the republicans had in that Realm seems to have been dashed during the recent Royal Tour of Australia, when little Prince George himself was dubbed “the republican slayer.”
 
This speaks to the fact that monarchy can indeed be a marketable system. At the moment, support for the Monarchy in Canada is far higher than it was a decade ago. Just because many monarchies have fallen and because there are fewer monarchies in the world than republics does not prove that one system is inferior to the other. One does not see republics becoming monarchies because the deep-rooted traditions and ancient rites which are intrinsic to monarchies cannot be created. We have those traditions and rites, and we should never let them go.
 
While not all Canadians are Monarchists, I would suggest to Mr. Cunningham that there are far larger issues affecting national unity than our non-partisan, bilingual, multicultural Crown.
 
God Save the Queen!
Barry R. MacKenzie
Chairman and Communications Officer
Monarchist League of Canada – Branch 81
 
ORIGINAL LETTER – TELEGRAPH JOURNAL – 6 MAY 2014
Canada and England would fit seamlessly into the international community without the monarchy.

Its first and greatest benefit is that it delivers a forceful disincentive to the separatist movement in Quebec. After the disposal of the monarchy, everyone will take the oath of allegiance to Canada itself.

As humanity’s experience has shown, monarchy has never been a marketable system. Monarchies have been crumbling one after the other and, fortunately, it is impossible to convince a republic to convert its system to a monarchy.

What are we waiting for here in Canada? We must salute Australia for moving in the direction of a republican system. Its former prime minister, Julia Gillard, had the courage to make it her political platform during her campaign to end the monarchy in Australia and when the Queen and her husband visited Australia, she had the courage of her convictions and delivered the message by standing tall and graceful and refusing to curtsy. What a great moment it was for a nation moving towards a republican system! Unfortunately, a coterie of misguided and sexist politicians did everything they could to bring her down, but they cannot stop Australia from moving forward.

Time is marching on and we must act decisively. We must stop falsely and complacently accusing our French Canadians of trying to break up Canada. They are not! Instead, we must train our eyes and our united efforts toward removing the actual cause, which is the monarchy and its divisive effect on our lives in Canada.

Jeffrey Cunningham

Vancouver

Continued Debate over 2014 Royal Tour

Below is my reply to another letter by Ron Berdusco (also below) which appeared recently in the Daily Gleaner in response to my earlier reply to his concerns about the upcoming Tour of Canada by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

 

Canada’s success rooted in the very foundation some would abandon

Re: the monarchy

Dear Editor:

In his recent letter, Ron Berdusco seems to be confusing the purpose of having a democracy with allowing everyone to have a chance to be the leader. I think it is a wonderful thing for children to be able to dream of one day becoming Prime Minister or the Governor General. We need dreamers to make this country better. As a matter of fact, it should be a greater dream to be appointed Governor General than to be Prime Minister, not because the GG is the more powerful (because we know the Prime Minister wields the real power) but because to represent the Sovereign is to represent all Canadians, not just those who voted for a particular partisan candidate, not to mention the fact that the GG also represents 400 years of monarchical history in this country.

Furthermore, I think Canadians should view the unattainable office of Sovereign not at something to covet but as something to be humbled by, not because we think the Queen is better than us but because her office represents all that is good and non-partisan and deep-rooted in our institutions of government. Children can grow up to effect great change in this country without becoming head of state. And as Sovereign, the Queen or one of her successors will be there to praise them and to maybe even invest them with honours to acknowledge their service to their nation.

Mr. Berdusco points to the success of our Olympic athletes and says that “we are a country that has come of age” and that “we have our own identity.” It seems to me that our impressive list of accomplishments and international standing might just have something to do with the foundations upon which this great country of ours was built. If we’re so gifted and fortunate, why pull the carpet out from beneath our success?

God Save the Queen,

Barry R. MacKenzie
Regional Coordinator (Maritimes) – Monarchist League of Canada 

*****

We should have our own head of state

Re: If Canadians want to ditch the monarchy, where’s the evidence?

It seems to me that what Barry R. MacKenzie of the Monarchist League is suggesting is that there isn’t a Canadian who could fulfill the position of our head of state. Absolute balderdash!

As we know, the majority of functions that a head of state performs in our governmental structure are ceremonial in scope. So there is no one in Canada who has the skills or the wherewithal to perform those activities?

Well, we have a governor-general who is performing those duties now, so why does he need to report to a foreign, off-shore British aristocrat?

It seems to me that he should report to the citizens of Canada. Isn’t that our democratic way?

I would like Mr. MacKenzie to think about this: Currently, no child growing up in Canada can ever aspire to become our head of state. No, not through education, hard work or self-sacrifice can this be achieved.

What is this telling us and the whole world? That we Canadians are not good enough; we had the wrong parents; that we can’t have our own position that is above politics?

I encourage Mr. MacKenzie to open his eyes and his mind to what is best for Canada. Look what our Canadian athletes accomplished at the Sochi Olympics. Absolutely remarkable!

We are a country that has come of age, we have our own identity, and we should have our own head of state.

Ron D. Berdusco
Hamilton, Ont.

Reply to Daily Gleaner Letter to Editor Re: 2014 Royal Tour

If Canadians want to get rid of the Monarchy, where’s the evidence?

R.D. Berdusco has taken to speaking on behalf of all Canadians, suggesting that monarchists are a tiny minority.

Furthermore, Berdusco states: “We want a Canadian as our head of state, we want it now…” If the majority of Canadians want a republic, where is the evidence? If 16.5 million Canadians (the minimum majority) wanted a republic, where’s the proof? Remember that none of our federalist parties have axing the monarchy on its platform, and no politicians of consequence have made more than a passing reference to a republic in many years.

Canada is independent and strong because of its rich constitutional path of development, and a hereditary headship of state does not mean we’re undignified. I’m sure that Britain, Norway, Thailand, Japan, and Spain would agree. If anything monarchy is more dignified because there is none of the partisan clamoring for the headship of state that we see in the US.

I am proud to be Canadian because my head of state is above politics, because there is a family at the head of my national society, and because this nation is not ashamed to stand on a platform of tradition.

The upcoming Royal Tour will highlight these important facets of our Canadian identity, and I think very few Canadians will be anything but pleased to welcome our future King and to show him that our attachment to his family runs wide and deep.

God Save the Queen!

Barry R. MacKenzie

Chairman

Monarchist League, NB Branch

***** 

An embarrassment to Canadian pride and dignity

Re: Proposed Royal visit

Prime Minister Harper’s invitation to those British Royals for a May tour of three of our provinces is totally unwarranted.

The majority of my fellow Canadians share my opinion on this matter (check the public polls). It is not only a total waste of our taxpayers money, but more importantly, we should be severing formal ties to the British monarchy and directing our efforts to the establishment of a Canadian as our head of state … through the democratic process.

It makes me very despondent that Mr. Harper keeps genuflecting to an institution that has no value in our Canadian culture. It is the most undemocratic of all institutions because it is based not on our Canadian value system, but on a set of archaic hereditary factors that have long since outlived their usefulness.

How more regressive can our prime minister become on this issue? Mr. Harper has the opportunity while in power to lead Canada in a new direction. To one of total independence and full sovereignty with a Canadian as our head of state. But no, in my judgement he continues to embarrass our Canadian pride and dignity with a colonial attitude that the majority of Canadians reject (again, check the public polls). I must conclude that Mr. Harper’s vision of Canada does not reflect what we Canadians want.

We want a Canadian as our head of state, we want it now, and we want an end to the blatant subservience that monarchy conveys. We must close the book on all this aristocratic nonsense. It is most un-Canadian.

R.D. ‍Berdusco
HAMILTON, ONT.

Monarchists (and others!) welcome Prince George with open arms

After one of the most anticipated pregnancies in recent history (perhaps ever), the wait is over and we have a new Prince. HRH Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born on July 22nd in St. Mary’s Hospital London, where his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, seems to have had a trouble-free labour (or at least her glowing appearance the next afternoon suggested). Though for photographers it must have been gruelling, the world had to wait but one more day for the first glimpse of the infant Prince (and our future Sovereign, Providence willing) when he appeared outside the Hospital briefly before being whisked away in his carseat.

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What has struck me is how very much the baby is like any other. For certain, he will want for little and his parents will have more extra hands around to help feed, change, bathe and entertain him. However, he is much like any other baby in that he requires the same loving care and attention, and his parents and other family will worry about and dote upon him endlessly.

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He is like any other baby except for path which has been laid before him based on his family’s heritage. His ancestors have ruled all of parts of the United Kingdom and at times as much as a quarter of the globe for over a thousand years. Six of those ancestors and relations have been Kings named George. Not all of their reigns have been praised by either contemporaries of historians, but the third, fifth, and sixth Georges have been as dutiful as one could wish their Sovereign to be. No doubt the fond memory of the latter two influenced the choice of the child’s name.

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Someday, we hope, he will be crowned in St. Edward’s Chair with St. Edward’s Crown and will become King George VII of sixteen Realms across the Commonwealth. Until that time, we wish him and his parents well.

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Below is the official message issued on the occasion of the Royal Birth:

I join with members of the League and all New Brunswickers in sending warm wishes of congratulations to Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of Prince George of Cambridge. It brings great joy to my heart to think of the long relationship which Canadians will have the opportunity to develop with Prince George as he assumes his place as third in line to the Throne of Canada. It has not been since the time of Queen Victoria that a living Sovereign has known three generations of Heirs to the Throne. One can hope that Her Majesty’s good health will continue so that she might have the opportunity to impart on this new great-grandchild a small fraction of her wisdom, for someday in the future we look forward to proclaiming our loyalty to this baby as the King of Canada.
 
This celebration is a very human one, and those of us with families can recall the joy with which we greeted the births of our own children. Thus, as much as we herald the arrival of a new Heir to the Throne, we are also conscious of being witnesses to the miracle of the birth of a child. That is one of the many great benefits of our Constitutional Monarchy: that we share with our Sovereign and her family the many joys (and sometimes sorrows) of family life: births, marriages, and deaths. This very human family which is at the head of society allows us to feel as though they are our very own kin. And, so, today we celebrate the birth of a new Royal cousin. May his life be a long and happy one.
 
God Save the Queen! Dieu Protège La Reine!
 
Barry R. MacKenzie
Chairman

Memories of the Coronation

Huntley Wishart, one of our loyal members, recently shared with me this story from the memory of his cousin, LAC Herman P. MacIntosh, formerly of the RCAF.

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t’s amazing I can remember like it was last year.We were billeted in tents in Hyde Park for two weeks before and one week after the BIG EVENT. June 3,1953.We stood on the street from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.The parade passed us twice.Each time we saluted for 45 minutes with a 10 pound 303 rifle at chest level. We had a 5 min break at 10:am and another at 2:00 pm..It rained on some parts of the procession.We had been issued raincoats for our section but did not need to wear them. There were a lot of fancy carriages but the Queen’s Gold State Coach still stands out in my mind as being the highlight of the day. When we marched off some of the crew stumbled their legs were so stiff.
After the big day we attended various functions including the unveiling of Runnymead Memorial for lost Canadian Serviceman. When we got back to our home station we volunteered to go to help with flooding where the sea had come through the dikes at Brighton. It was a great adventure the whole summer.
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