Celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Historic Reign
Rideau Hall, Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Today, history is being made.
The reign of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada has reached 23,226 days, 17 hours and 23 minutes in duration.
That’s more than 63 years!
And that means that Her Majesty has surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era.
She did so an hour ago, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time!
Think about that for a moment.
Think about the commitment she made to serve as sovereign on February 6, 1952, when she came to the throne following her father’s death.
She was just 25 years old at the time.
At her coronation, Her Majesty dedicated her life to our service, pledging: “I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
Think about how The Queen has honoured her commitment to us.
How she has surpassed it.
She has done so by example, and by speaking to all that we have in common, rather than that which divides us.
The Queen understands that, perhaps more than anything else, trust is the cornerstone of a democratic society.
It’s the true currency of the realm.
That’s why it’s so fitting that we commemorate this historic occasion with the unveiling of a new banknote from the Bank of Canada, a new postage stamp from Canada Post, and a commemorative coin from the Royal Canadian Mint.
These lasting items, created with such care and attention, symbolize the trust we place in Her Majesty, and which she places in us. They move quietly among us, perhaps unnoticed at times, yet a constant and reassuring presence we rely upon.
As Canadians we are fortunate to have such an exemplary constitutional monarch serve as our head of State.
The Queen represents the Crown, which is integral to our parliamentary system.
She is devoted to this country.
As our Queen, she has conducted 22 Royal Tours of Canada—the most of any Commonwealth nation.
She also visited Canada while still a princess. You may recall seeing the famous photo of Her Majesty square dancing at Rideau Hall during her 1951 visit!
It was one of many memorable moments we’ve all shared.
During her reign, Her Majesty has participated in some of the key moments in our history.
She was here in 1967, for our Centennial celebrations and the birth of modern Canada.
She was here in 1976, to open the Olympic Games in Montréal.
She was here in 1982, to sign our Canadian Constitution into law and entrench the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
And, most recently, she was here in 2010, when she met with Canadians from all walks of life in Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto and Waterloo.
Time and again, The Queen has impressed us and won our respect and affection.
She’s fluently bilingual in both official languages.
She’s a Canadian Armed Forces colonel-in-chief, captain general and air commodore-in-chief.
She’s a great supporter of volunteerism and of charitable causes.
She’s deeply interested in Canada’s great promise as a multicultural, democratic society.
Today, we mark a milestone moment in Canadian history.
But today is less about longevity than about the strength of The Queen’s dedication to Canada, and the dignity with which she comports herself.
As a gesture of our admiration on this occasion, Canada’s viceregal family has sent a statement of loyalty to The Queen. This document, which I signed along with each provincial and territorial lieutenant governor and commissioner, is a reaffirmation of our loyalty and respect.
On behalf of all Canadians, I am pleased to thank Her Majesty The Queen for her long service to our country.
And I thank all of you for being here to help celebrate.
Long may she reign!