Quebecers remember Queen as powerful, graceful and dedicated to service

Quebecers remember Queen as powerful, graceful and dedicated to service

Allisun Dalzell has been watching the royal family for most of her life.

She even threw a wedding party at her home in Beaconsfield, Que., to celebrate Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle back in 2018.

"I became a fan as a little kid," said Dalzell.

"Princess Diana got married and I stayed up through the middle of the night. I was glued to it. She was a lot older than me at the time, but she was still young and she became a princess. That's when I became enamoured with all of them."

She hoped to one day marry Prince Edward and, while that didn't happen, she continued to keep close tabs on the royal family and the Queen was the centre of everything. Eventually Dalzelle was in the Queen's presence while visiting Buckingham Palace.

"That was an honour. That was a privilege. And something I am going to be thinking about for the rest of my life," she said.

"I feel really emotional right now because she is gone, but that day I felt just as emotional because I couldn't believe it."

The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

The Queen was tiny in stature, Dalzelle recalled, "yet she has all this power and all this grace. She has a magic about her and I don't know if anybody can fill those shoes."

Seeing the Queen in Quebec City

Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, at the relatively tender age of 25, and presided over the country and the Commonwealth, including Canada, for seven decades.

Those 70 years as monarch were recognized during this year's Platinum Jubilee events, which reached their height in London in early June.

Robin Warren was living in Quebec City as a child when the Queen came to visit the province in 1964.

Security was exceptionally high because the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) was considered a threat, she said.

Kwabena Oduro/CBC
Kwabena Oduro/CBC

She remembers standing on the Plains of Abraham and seeing soldiers lined up between her and the Queen as the monarch came and went throughout the weekend from the Royal Yacht Britannia.

"I think it was a Saturday night when they came back in full regalia. We saw her in her crown and everything," said Warren.

Decades later, Warren said she thinks of the Queen as an exceptional woman who "devoted her whole life to service."

Quebec lowers flag

Elizabeth's death comes as the province of Quebec is in the middle of an election campaign.

CAQ Leader François Legault, the province's premier heading into the election, announced he would suspend his campaign activities for the rest of the day "out of respect for the royal family."

WATCH | The Queen through the ages:

"She supported her people during difficult moments. Queen Elizabeth touched spirits with her strength, with her calm as well, even as she had a front row seat to major events of the 20th century," Legault said.

Legault also said he's asked for the Quebec flag to be lowered at half-mast on all public government buildings.

Dominique Anglade, leader of the Quebec Liberal party, mentioned the Queen's long history of service in a post to Twitter.

"She lived through many of the major events of our time and numerous challenges with grace and dignity. My thoughts are with her family and the British people," she said.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said her thoughts are also with the Queen's loved ones and "the bereaved British people."

"Elizabeth II dedicated her life to public service and showed a great sense of duty during her reign — the longest in U.K. history," she said on Twitter.