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Now arriving at Gate 7... the Queen

Reigning monarch begins 22nd visit

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/6/2010 (2608 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

HALIFAX -- Bernadette Hearns giggled like a schoolgirl moments after she met the Queen.

"It was so wonderful. She's beautiful," the Halifax woman said Monday as the Queen completed a walkabout at the rain-sodden foot of Citadel Hill, the port city's historic British fort. "She said, 'I hope you didn't get too wet.' "

The Queen is greeted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean Monday in Halifax.

PAUL CHIASSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Queen is greeted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean Monday in Halifax.

Only minutes before the Queen and Prince Philip arrived at the fort's Garrison Grounds, where a squad of Mounties in soaked red serge stood at attention to greet them, the heavy rain stopped, as if on cue. Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean greeted the Queen as she emerged from her limousine to start her 22nd official visit to Canada.

The rain held off for the entire ceremony, which included a 21-gun salute, a review of a Guard of Honour, a speech from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and traditional Celtic and Acadian music.

"Look, it's a once in a lifetime," said Hearns, he hair shielded from the rain by a plastic head scarf. "You know... I'm so excited. It's wonderful. We got soaked. But that's OK."

Queen Elizabeth, dressed in a sand-coloured overcoat, carried a bell-shaped umbrella with a yellow fringe and handle that matched her wide-brimmed hat.

In a brief speech, she recalled her six decades as Canada's reigning monarch, speaking of her pride in the country's accomplishments and the warmth she felt at the welcoming ceremony.

The 84-year-old Queen recalled the words of the Queen Mother as she reflected on what it means to return to Canada.

"My mother once said that this country felt like home, away from home, for the Queen of Canada," she said in her first of four speeches during her tour of five Canadian cities.

"As Queen of Canada for nearly six decades, my pride in this country remains undimmed. ... It is very good to be home."

In his address, Harper recalled the Queen's previous visits and the impact they have had on Canadians who have seen her, including himself as a boy when he saw her motorcade a couple of blocks from his house in Ontario.

"Those people treasure those experiences for a lifetime," he said.

Harper said the Queen has visited Canada more often than any other country in the Commonwealth.

"We are honoured that you have given us so generously of your time," he said. "Thank you, Your Majesty, for over a half-century of wise and gracious service as our monarch and welcome to Canada."

While in Winnipeg Saturday, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will deliver a stone from the meadows of Runnymede, site of the 1215 signing of the Magna Carta, to the construction site of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The Queen last visited Canada in 2005, with stops in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

 

-- The Canadian Press

 

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