Her Majesty's speeches

Read what Queen Elizabeth II had to say during her nine-day royal tour

During the Queen’s 22nd visit to Canada as sovereign, she’ll be in her northern realm for nine days, visit five cities, be handed umpteen bouquets of flowers and deliver four speeches. Undoubtedly the shortest is her first, at the official welcoming ceremony in Halifax on Garrison Grounds. While the weather was inclement, though the driving rain had stopped, her words were warm.

Speech No. 1
Monday, June 28
Garrison Grounds, Halifax

Votre Excellence, Monsieur le Premier Ministre du Canada, Votre Honneur, Monsieur le Premier Ministre de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Prince Philip and I are very glad to have returned to Nova Scotia today to begin this tour of Canada, my 22nd visit as Queen of Canada. My mother once said that this country felt like a home away from home for The Queen of Canada. Prime Minister, I am pleased to report that it still does and I am delighted to be back amongst you all.

It has been sixteen years since I was last here in Nova Scotia. Premier, there can be few places where the motto of One Hundred Thousand Welcomes is put into practice with such conviction. Prince Philip and I are so very grateful to you all for the warmth of your greeting.

La richesse de l’histoire et la vitalité de la culture des provinces et des territoires sont une source d’inspiration et une raison de célébrer pour tous les Canadiens. Alors que nous commençons notre visite ici en Nouvelle-Écosse, le prince Philip et moi-même envisageons avec plaisir de participer aux activités soulignant l’histoire canadienne de service – nous nous rappellerons la vitalité indéfectible des Micmacs, nous célébrerons le centenaire de la Marine canadienne et nous serons témoins de l’esprit de bénévolat qui a contribué à l’édification et à l’épanouissement des collectivités et du pays.

Canadians have, by their own endeavours, built a country and society which is widely-admired across the world. I am fortunate to have been a witness to many of the developments and accomplishments of modern Canada. As Queen of Canada for nearly six decades, my pride in this country remains undimmed. Thank you again for your welcome. It is very good to be home.

Speech No. 2
Thursday, July 1
Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Prime Minister, Minister, distinguished guests, fellow Canadians,

Aujourd’hui, partout au pays, des Canadiens se réunissent pour célébrer l’histoire du Canada, son identité et ses réalisations. À mon avis, il n’y a pas meilleure raison de célébrer. Thank you for inviting Prince Philip and me to join you all on this special day.

During my lifetime, I have been a witness to this country for more than half its history since Confederation. I have watched with enormous admiration how Canada has grown and matured while remaining true to its history, its distinctive character and its values.

This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world. Nous venons tout juste de voir des images des Forces canadiennes, des diplomates, et des travailleurs humanitaires à l’œuvre dans le monde entier, apportant leur soutien et leur aide à autrui. These commitments, often in dangerous and hostile circumstances, are undertaken with the support and respect of us all.

At home, Canadians have many reasons for optimism, even in trying times. The recent success of the Vancouver Olympics was about more than just the thrill of a gold medal for Canada’s hockey team. As well as renewing a sense of common purpose within this country, the Olympics showed to others something of the extraordinary warmth and enthusiasm of the people as Canada welcomed participants and audiences from around the globe. À de nombreux égards, le Canada s’affirme fièrement sur la scène internationale, affrontant l’avenir avec confiance.

I wish you all the very happiest Canada Day. God bless you all and God bless Canada.

Speech No. 3
Saturday, July 3

Prime Minister, Premier, Ministers, Your Worship, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Jeudi dernier, des milliers de Manitobains se sont réunis ici pour souligner la Fête du Canada, fête qui est l’occasion, pour les Canadiens de partout au pays, de célébrer l’identité et les réalisations canadiennes ainsi que les valeurs chères à ce pays.

A few moments ago, I unveiled the cornerstone of the new Canadian Museum of Human Rights. This building will, in due course, rise up to take its place on the Winnipeg skyline. But it is also a symbol of the importance which Canada attaches to human rights and its own role in promoting them at home and throughout the world.

An integral part of this cornerstone is a smaller stone taken from the meadows of Runnymede in England where Magna Carta was signed in the year
1215.  That document was itself the cornerstone of democratic rights and gave rise to the rule of Constitutional Law that now flourishes across the English-speaking world.

Here at the Forks, the symbolism of Magna Carta is now joined to the historical importance of a site where aboriginal peoples gathered for thousands of years to exchange views and resolve conflicts. Ce sont là des bases précieuses qui sauront sûrement inspirer le Musée national, auquel je souhaite bon succès.

In this, Manitoba’s ‘Coming Home Year’, I hope that today will be a special and memorable time for each and every one of you.

Speech No. 4
Monday, July 5

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Prime Minister, I am most grateful to you for your kind words and for your thoughtful personal gift by which I will remember this most enjoyable
return to Canada and your part in it. Prince Philip and I should also like to thank the Government of Canada for its generous charitable contributions in our honour.

Alors que ma vingt-deuxième visite au Canada tire à sa fin, le prince Philip et moi garderons d’excellents souvenirs de ce magnifique pays et de ses habitants. Lors de ma première visite, avant que je ne sois reine, j’ai fait remarquer que « du moment que je suis arrivée sur le sol canadien le sentiment d’appréhension est disparu, parce que j’ai compris que j’étais non seulement parmi des amis, mais parmi mes compatriotes ». Aujourd’hui, bien des années plus tard, j’éprouve toujours autan d’affection et d’admiration pour le Canada.

Tomorrow afternoon, I shall address the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York as the Sovereign of sixteen member states and Head of the Commonwealth. Just as in 1957, when I last visited the UN, I shall be travelling from this Northern Realm as Queen of Canada, a country whose whole-hearted commitment to the United Nations throughout its history is without equal. Building on those foundations, this nation’s international engagement is as strong as ever, whether measured by the service and sacrifice of our troops in Afghanistan or gathering the leading countries of the world here in Toronto to address matters of urgent concern.

In my lifetime, Canada’s development as a nation has been remarkable. This vast, rich and varied country has inspired its own and attracted many
others by its adherence to certain values. Some are enshrined in law but I should imagine just as many are simply found in the hearts of ordinary Canadians.

Commitment to freedom, fairness and the rule of law are commonly and rightly associated with this nation. These are just some of the attributes that animate Canadians at home and abroad, not least in the service of peace. So, although my visit here is drawing to a close, I shall continue to take the greatest pride in being your Queen, now and in the years to come.