Parrsboro holds ceremony to honour the Queen’s long reign

L-R: Ken Snowdon, Colin Curleigh

L-R: Ken Snowdon, Colin Curleigh

About 50 people gathered at noon today in the newly-renovated Ottawa House Museum to honour the Queen as Canada’s longest-reigning monarch.

The 17-minute ceremony was organized by the Monarchist League of Canada to mark the day when the Queen surpasses the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years and 216 days.

After the Parrsboro Citizens’ Choir sang O Canada, Mayor Lois Smith read a proclamation sending “Her Majesty our loyalty and love, together with the hope that she will reign in health and happiness for many years to come.”

The Mayor also read a letter the Town of Parrsboro wrote to the Queen on August 14th informing her of today’s gathering “to renew our allegiance to you and to reflect on all you mean to us as a monarch and a friend during so many decades.”

The Queen’s reply on August 27th sent best wishes to all at the gathering.

Guest speakers

Retired army Sergeant-Major Ken Snowdon recalled how then Princess Elizabeth and her new husband Prince Philip were visiting Kenya in 1952 when she learned that her father, King George VI, had died at age 56.

“Suddenly finding herself Queen and head of the Commonwealth, she immediately boards a plane back to England,” Snowdon said.

He also pointed out that during her coronation in 1953, 900 members of the Canadian Forces guarded the parade route or took part in the procession to Westminster Abbey.

Princess Elizabeth and Premier Angus L. Macdonald at Province House, 1951

Princess Elizabeth and Premier Angus L. Macdonald at Province House, 1951

Retired Brigadier-General Colin Curleigh remembered Princess Elizabeth’s visit to Halifax in 1951.

“I was on the street,” Curleigh said, “in my little sailor suit as a Sea Cadet when she came through.”

He added that at about the same time Princess Elizabeth became Queen the next year, he left the Sea Cadets to join the Royal Canadian Navy.

“So when she celebrated her 25th anniversary, I celebrated mine,” Curleigh said as the audience laughed.

In 1992 when the Queen marked her 40th anniversary on the throne, Curleigh also marked his with the navy.

“But that’s when I retired,” he added “and she has continued on serving us for another 23 years.”

Today’s ceremony ended with the singing of God Save The Queen.

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