The Crown in Canada

Queen Elizabeth II standing next to the Canadian flagHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Queen of Canada

The Royal Cypher

The Royal Cypher is The Queen's monogram (Elizabeth II Regina*) below a crown. It is used in the insignia of orders, decorations and medals, and on various badges.

(*Regina is latin for Queen)

The Royal Crown

When she ascended the throne 0n February 6, 1952, Queen Elizabeth II adopted a heraldic representation of the crown closely resembling the St. Edward's Crown, which was used for her coronation on June 2, 1953.

Since that time, the use of the Royal Crown in any design must receive the personal permission of Her Majesty, by her express direction. Permission is sought through the Office of the Governor General. In addition, any organization that has been honoured with Royal Patronage or permission to use the word "Royal" as part of its name may receive appropriate insignia when petitioning the Canadian Heraldic Authority for a grant of armorial bearings ("Coat of Arms") or other emblem.

The Queen's Personal Canadian Flag

In September 1961, Queen Elizabeth II approved a personal flag for use in Canada.The announcement of the new flag was made in 1962. The design is made up of the arms of Canada with The Queen's own device -- the initial "E" -- in the centre. The device is surmounted by the St. Edward's Crown within a gold chaplet of roses on a blue background.

When The Queen is in Canada, this flag is flown, day and night, at any building in which she is in residence. Generally, the flag is also flown at the saluting base when she conducts troop inspections, and on all vehicles in which she travels.

The Royal Union Flag

Royal Union FlagVersion used since 1801

The original Royal Union Flag, or Union Jack, was first raised in Canada at the British settlement in Newfoundland after 1610. Following the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, the Royal Union Flag was proclaimed in its present form. In 1870, it was incorporated into the flags of the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors of the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The Royal Union Flag was affirmed as a Canadian symbol in 1904 and was the flag under which Canadian troops fought during the First World War. On December 18, 1964, Parliament approved the continued use of the Royal Union Flag as a symbol of Canada's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and of her allegiance to the Crown.

Today, the Royal Union Flag is flown along with the Canadian flag at federal buildings, airports and military bases on special occasions, such as the Sovereign's birthday, the anniversary of the Statute of Westminster (December 11), and during Royal visits.

The Royal Union Flag is prominent in the arms of British Columbia and in the flags of Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia.

The Crown in Canada

Canada has long been a monarchy -- under the kings of France in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, under the British Crown in the 18th and 19th centuries, and as a kingdom in her own right from Confederation onward.

Although Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom, it is not on this basis that Canadians offer her allegiance. She is, quite separately, sovereign of Canada by deliberate choice of Canadians (Her Majesty is also Queen of Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand, and numerous other Commonwealth countries).

The most recent reaffirmation of the monarchy in Canada is found in the Constitution Act, 1982, which patriated our constitution from Britain. Any change to the position of The Queen or her representatives in Canada (the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors) now requires the unanimous consent of the Senate, the House of Commons and the legislative assemblies of all the provinces.

The Sovereign Personifying the State

In our constitutional monarchy the Sovereign personifies the state and is the personal symbol of allegiance, unity and authority for all Canadians. Federal and provincial legislators, Cabinet ministers, public servants, military and police personnel all swear allegiance to The Queen (not to a flag or constitution), as do new citizens at Canadian citizenship ceremonies. Canada's Constitution vests the executive powers of Canada in The Queen (although her representatives act on the advice of ministers responsible to the House of Commons or the legislative assemblies of the provinces). This explains why elections are called and laws are promulgated in The Queen's name.

The Queen and the Governor General

With the Balfour Report of 1926, the Governor General ceased to represent the British government and became the personal representative of the Sovereign in Canada. This was confirmed by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, an act of British Parliament that gave Canada and other Commonwealth countries the authority to make their own laws. Powers of the King were gradually transferred to the Governor General, culminating in 1947 with the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor General, which authorized the Governor General to exercise all the powers of the Sovereign in Canada, on the advice of the Canadian government. As the Sovereign's personal representative in Canada, the Governor General is accorded the honours and privileges that are due to the Sovereign.

The Governor General's Flag

While the coat of arms of the Governor General changes with each new Governor General, the flag remains the same: the crest of the arms of Canada on a blue field. The crest depicts a lion wearing the St. Edward's Crown, holding a red maple leaf in its front right paw,and standing on a wreath of red and white cloth. This flag was approved by Queen Elizabeth II in 1981.

The Royal Anthem

The Royal Anthem originated as a patriotic song in London, England, in 1745. Neither the author nor the composer is known. The anthem is performed officially in Canada in the presence of members of the Royal Family, and as part of the Salute accorded to the Governor General and Lieutenant Governors.

Lyrics to God Save the Queen

The Queen and the Lieutenant Governors

The relationship between the Sovereign and the Lieutenant Governors was not envisaged in the same way as it was with the Governor General at the time of Confederation in 1867. Rather than being considered as the Sovereign's direct representatives in the provinces, Lieutenant Governors were seen as the Governor General's representatives and agents of the federal government, which continues to be responsible for their appointment and the payment of their salary.

However, custom, evolution, convention and judicial decisions have changed the nature of the office. The Lieutenant Governors, though continuing to be federal appointees and holding some residual federal powers, are seen as the Sovereign's direct and personal representatives, embodying the Crown in the provinces. This means that Lieutenant Governors act in the name of The Queen in right of the province, just as the Governor General acts in the name of The Queen in right of Canada. Lieutenant Governors and the Provincial Crown, which they personify, symbolize the sovereignty of the provincial governments within the federation.

The Flags of the Lieutenant Governors

During the 1980s, the governments of Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Manitoba and Newfoundland received approval from the Governor General to use a new flag to identify their Lieutenant Governors as the Sovereign's representatives at the provincial level. This is a royal blue flag with the shield of the arms of the province surrounded by a circlet of 10 gold stylized maple leaves, representing the provinces of Canada. Above the shield is a St. Edward's crown, which symbolizes the dignity of the Lieutenant Governor as the Sovereign's representative in the province.

Since 1952, the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec has used a blue flag on which is a white disc bearing the arms and motto of Quebec surmounted by the Royal Crown.Nova Scotia continues to use a flag approved by Queen Victoria in 1869, the Royal Union Flag charged with a white disc bearing the shield of arms of the province within a garland of green maple leaves.

Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario


Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia

British Columbia

Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec


Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia

Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan


Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick

New Brunswick

Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta


Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba


Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador

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