Saskatchewan remembers Queen Elizabeth II

·2 min read
Queen Elizabeth II visits the Royal Canadian Mounted Police depot division in Regina on May 19, 2005. (Department of Canadian Heritage - image credit)
Queen Elizabeth II visits the Royal Canadian Mounted Police depot division in Regina on May 19, 2005. (Department of Canadian Heritage - image credit)

Some residents of Saskatchewan are fondly remembering Queen Elizabeth II, as people around the country begin to process the death of Canada's head of state.

The Queen died peacefully on Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

Monique Goffinet-Miller, a member of the South Saskatchewan Monarchist League, says Elizabeth's death is "devastating" for monarchists.

"Her Majesty was a steadfast leader … in her Platinum Jubilee year, so we are in a state of mourning," Goffinet-Miller told CBC News on Thursday.

One of the last public statements made by the Queen before her death was to express her condolences for the victims of the mass stabbing in Saskatchewan on the weekend.

"My thoughts and prayers are with those recovering from injuries, and grieving such horrific losses," Elizabeth wrote in a statement published Wednesday.

For Goffinet-Miller, the statement was a reminder of the Queen's a strong sense of duty to her subjects, even in death.

"Her Majesty — as a servant and as a patron, as a leader that is responsible to the treaty and that of the Crown's responsibility in treaty — would not want to overshadow that in today's news," she said.

During the 70 years she served as monarch, the Queen made several visits to Saskatchewan.

"I think the Queen and the Royal Family enjoys Saskatchewan," said Michael Jackson, a former protocol officer with the Saskatchewan government who helped to arrange the logistics for those visits.

"You can tell they relax here. It's not as pretentious as perhaps some parts of the country, and they tend to relax very quickly when they come here."

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Elizabeth's last trip to Saskatchewan came in 2005 to mark the province's centennial.

The Queen visited the Royal Canadian Mounted Police depot division in Regina, and she was present for the unveiling of a statue that had a personal connection.

"Burmese was her favourite horse, given to her by the RCMP in the 1980s," Jackson said. "To see the Queen unveiling the statue of herself riding Burmese in front of the Legislative Building, it's really a very special moment."

The statue remains part of the gardens at the provincial legislature in Wascana Park.

The emotions and memories felt by many who attended the 2005 jubilee were shared by the Queen, Goffinet-Miller says.

"The people of Saskatchewan touched upon Her Majesty's heart and that's why she kept coming back," she said.  "This is a very special province. There are many things that we should celebrate, and watching Her Majesty interact with the people of Saskatchewan showed that she served all of her subjects."