'The world will not be the same': What Queen Elizabeth meant to these Islanders

·4 min read
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip saying goodbye to former lieutenant-governor Willibald Joseph MacDonald and his wife Agnes during their visit to P.E.I. in 1964 to open the Confederation Centre.   (Public Archives and Records Office, Acc5099/51 - image credit)
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip saying goodbye to former lieutenant-governor Willibald Joseph MacDonald and his wife Agnes during their visit to P.E.I. in 1964 to open the Confederation Centre. (Public Archives and Records Office, Acc5099/51 - image credit)

People in Prince Edward Island and around the world continue to mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth — including some who had met her.

The longest-ever reigning British monarch died Thursday at the age of 96.

Retired RCMP superintendent Robert Moffatt, who now lives in P.E.I., spent 10 years as the Canadian police officer assigned to Queen Elizabeth's son, Prince Edward. During that time, he spent a lot of time with the Royal Family.

"It is a great loss," he said of her death Thursday at age 96. "She was a great Queen. She gave of herself for many, many years. The world will not be the same without Elizabeth."

Moffatt met the Queen in Victoria, B.C., in 1984 when she and the Duke of Edinburgh opened the Commonwealth Games.

"Two things you know, you never forget about the Queen. First is the way that she would wave. That royal wave was just so, so perfect." he said.

Submitted by Bob Moffatt
Submitted by Bob Moffatt

"The other thing that I will never forget is her voice. Because I remember when we went to an event in Victoria during the Commonwealth Games — I was sitting behind her because she was sitting with Edward in front of the Duke — and just to hear her voice and that is the Queen. You just never forget that voice."

Moffatt plans to send Prince Edward a note of sympathy, as he did when Edward's father Prince Philip died. Edward returned the gesture with a note to Moffatt.

"We still correspond on occasions. Unfortunately, most of them are sad occasions," he said.

'A special lady'

A book of condolence will be set up in the main hall of Government House, the official residence of the Island's lieutenant-governor, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for nine days.

Gwen Taylor, who arrived to sign the book and pay her respects Friday morning. was born the same year as the Queen, which she says made her feel connected to the monarch over the years.

CBC
CBC

"I think she was a special lady as well as a Queen, and I've always followed her down through the years so I feel as though I'm one of her friends," Taylor said.

"You felt that she was an ordinary person too and it's kind of a shock and a loss too."

While the two lived worlds apart, Taylor felt her life mirrored the Queen's in a way.

"I always compared my life to hers, with her husband and her children ... both of us having our families and our ups and down."

For Taylor, honouring the Queen means respecting her legacy — and appreciating the little things, too.

"She's got a great collection of hats, for one thing," Taylor said. "She looked great in those hats and I can tell she had a good sense of humour."

CBC
CBC

'The loss is monumental'

CBC News also asked people on the streets of Charlottetown how they will remember the Queen.

"She was very much a part of Canadian culture, especially still being on our $20 bills," said Jacob Milligan. "The loss is monumental ... some of the new generations are going to forget about that."

"Without her I think the British monarchy will kind of struggle ... Prince Charles might have a heavy brick to pick up," Milligan added.

Rick Gibbs/CBC
Rick Gibbs/CBC

Vietnamese student Esther Pham said she had to stop studying when she heard about the Queen's death.

"Very sad and I can't study because I'm thinking about her death," Pham said. "She kept that chair [for a] very long time and made a lot of beautiful things for people ... she put all of her life for that."

Aaron Gupta was surprised by the Queen's death.

"We all thought she was immortal," he said. He believes her death will be a "setback" for the Royal Family but hopes they will carry on and make some changes for the better.

Rick Gibbs/CBC
Rick Gibbs/CBC

"I thought she was going to be eternal," said Camila Chilini. "It's going to be weird to get used to saying 'the King of England.'"

"We're sad cause we just realized she's the only Queen we've ever known and we will ever know in our lifetime," said Carla Khan, who was visiting P.E.I. from Alberta. They had hoped to catch a glimpse of the Queen as they visit England in November for Remembrance Day, but were almost as enthusiastic about a possible sighting of King Charles III.