King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on the deck of the S.S. “Prince Robert”
arrived in Victoria on May 30, 1939. It was their final Canadian stop on the last leg of their cross-Canada Royal Tour of the Dominion as “King and Queen of Canada”. They were greeted by at the main doors of The Legislature then enjoyed a dinner with local dignitaries at the Empress Hotel where they spent the night. The next day a motorcade took them through the cheering crowds to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park, where the Blessing of the Regimental Regalia took place, after the troops were inspected. The next day, the royal visitors boarded the S.S. Prince Robert
to visit the United States from June 7th to 10th, They visited the World’s Fair in New York, and stayed with President and Mrs. Roosevelt at the White House. This was the first time a British reigning monarch had been to either Canada or the United States though both as Prince Albert, and as the Duke of York, George had visited earlier.
Their tour of North America ended on June 15th. War with Nazi Germany was declared in September.
For Queen Elizabeth, the 1939 tour began a 50-year personal relationship with Canada, and helped establish her and her husband as modern monarchs. She would say later that “Canada made us.” As the Queen Mother, she visited Canada 14 times and became a patron of numerous Canadian charities, and honorary colonel-in-chief of Canadian military regiments. In 2000, the Queen Mother was appointed to the Order of Canada at the age of 100. King George died in 1952, at the age of 56, and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, died in 2002.