Seeing Royalty

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were in Regina the last couple days. We drove home from Saskatoon today and stopped at a Perkins restaurant in Regina for lunch. It was hard not to overhear the excited conversation of the two women sitting across the aisle from us.

“So tell me all about it!” , said one woman.

The other replied, “I still can’t believe I met Prince Charles and actually shook his hand and talked to him.”  

Her companion asked, “Did you talk to Camilla too?”  

The woman replied, “I didn’t, but I talked to people who did, and they said she was just so charming and warm and personable.”  

The other woman sniffed. “She might have been nice, but I’ll still always like Lady Di better.” 

The women’s conversation made me think of two experiences my family has had with seeing royalty. 

In 1939 King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth visited Canada. They took a Canadian Pacific Railway train through the Western provinces. In this photo they are greeting the 60,000 people who turned out to see them in Melville, Saskatchewan.

The train also stopped in Watrous, Saskatchewan and it was here my mother saw the royal couple. Here is the story in her own words. 

One of the highlights of my school career was singing for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In 1939 they were on a coast-to-coast tour of Canada by train and were scheduled to stop in Watrous, Saskatchewan for a few minutes. There were hundreds of children at the train station from many different schools in our area. We were all lined up along the tracks.  Each school was assigned a certain place where we had to stand. There were ropes set up along the track and we had to stay behind them. Our teachers had all taught us the same song to sing for the king and queen. It was a song that had been especially written for that day.  The train stopped and the King and Queen came out on a little porch at the end of the train to wave to us and listen to us sing.  After we finished singing they took away the ropes that had been set up along the track and we all dashed up to the train to get as close as we could to the royal couple. I thought I might be able to touch the Queen’s dress.  I remember I ran up to the train but there were so many people I couldn’t get close to the Queen.  When I turned around I couldn’t see the other kids from my school or my teacher and I thought I was lost.  I was actually quite scared until I finally spied someone I recognized in that big crowd and was able to rejoin my class.  I remember the queen was wearing a blue hat that day

I also saw the Queen once. Our current queen Elizabeth was visiting Winnipeg in 1959. She drove through the city in a motorcade. 
In 1959 I was in grade one and my Dad was an intern at the St. Boniface Hospital. Queen Elizabeth’s motorcade was going to go right past the hospital. The streets were lined with people and it would have been hard for a little girl like me to see with such a crowd all around. So my Dad took me up on the roof of the hospital and from there I had a great birds-eye view of the Queen as she drove by waving her hand.

I’m not really a royal watcher. Personally I think the monarchy should be abolished. But the royal family members are celebrities and there is a certain excitement in having seen one of the famous royals in person. 

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Filed under Canada, Childhood, Family

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