Thursday 30 June 2011

Canada's Royal Anthem - God Save the Queen (with special Canadian verse)

As Canadians eagerly await the arrival of their future King and Queen (The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge), the time is perhaps appropriate to explain some Royal Canadian symbols. Over the coming days I shall endeavour to delve into Canada's rich royal history and share some (hopefully interesting) Royal Canadian facts. I hope, particularly, that these short postings will help foreign media outlets avoid making the all too easy mistake of confusing British & Canadian symbols.

For example, God Save the Queen will be heard several times during the Canadian travels of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but did you know that it will be played not as the British National Anthem but, rather, as Canada's Royal Anthem? 

Furthermore, did you know that there is a uniquely Canadian verse to God Save the Queen -- and a French verse too? 

It is a little known fact that, whilst undoubtedly British, God Save the Queen has no official status in the United Kingdom -- amazingly it has never been formally recognised by the British Parliament (it is also interesting to note that the tune is also used for the national anthem of Liechtenstein and the American patriotic song "My Country 'Tis of Thee" -- and was also once the melody for the Swiss national anthem). 

By contrast, in 1967 a Special Joint Committee of the Canadian Senate and House of Commons declared that the Canadian Parliament should recognise God Save the Queen as Canada's Royal Anthem (O Canada being declared Canada's official national anthem in 1980). God Save the Queen had been sung in Canada since the 1700s and, along with O Canada, was held to be one of Canada's two national anthems, English Canadians preferring the former (along with The Maple Leaf Forever) and French Canadians usually opting for the latter. 

Canada continues to have both a Royal Anthem and a National Anthem. As the Royal Anthem, God Save the Queen is played in the presence of the Sovereign and other members of the Royal Family. It is also played at important national ceremonies and events, such as Remembrance Day services.

Click this video to hear Canada's Royal Anthem & National Anthem:

Contrary to popular belief, God Save the Queen does not have any set number of verses (in either Canada or the United Kingdom). However, Canadians can be justifiably proud to have a uniquely Canadian verse which is not sung anywhere else (although in modern times it is seldom sung at all):

Our loved Dominion bless
With peace and happiness
From shore to shore;
And let our Empire be
United, loyal, free,
True to herself and Thee
For evermore

Of course, Canada is also a bilingual country. French Canadians have a proud monarchical heritage and over the generations French Canadians have proudly and fiercely demonstrated their loyalty to the Crown (Father of Confederation Sir George-Etienne Cartier, Bt., PC, former Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier GCMG, PC, KC and former Governor General Major General Georges Vanier PC, DSO, MC, CD to name but three). It is therefore quite right that Canada's Royal Anthem should also contain a French verse (essentially a translation of the first verse):

Dieu protege la reine
De sa main souveraine!
Vive la reine!
Qu'un regne glorieux,
Long et victorieux
Rende son peuple heureux
Vive la Reine!

As the representative of the Sovereign, Canada's Governor General also gets some "royal" treatment -- but as the G.G. is not the Head of State but merely the representative of the Head of State, he/she receives the Canadian Vice Regal Salute, which comprises the first six bars of God Save the Queen immediately followed by the first four and last four bars of O Canada.

Therefore, when you hear God Save the Queen played during this Royal Canadian Homecoming of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge please remember it is not played to honour British visitors -- it is played to honour Canada's future King & Queen.

Click on this video to hear Canada's Vice-Regal Salute:

Wednesday 29 June 2011

New Personal Flags for TRH The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge

Official Press Release from Government House, Ottawa, June 29, 2011 (Original Release here:

OTTAWA— On the eve of the arrival in Canada of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, is pleased with the unveiling of two new Royal flags created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority and approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“These new flags created for The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge are magnificent expressions of our constitutional monarchy and heritage,” said His Excellency. “As we prepare to welcome Their Royal Highnesses to experience this marvelous country, I am sure that many Canadians will take great interest in these new emblems. As head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, I am delighted with the work of our Canadian heralds in preparing these designs.”
The two flags are based on Her Majesty The Queen’s personal flag for use in Canada, which uses the Royal Arms of Canada as its basis. Since the flag was adopted in 1962, Her Majesty The Queen has been the only member of the Royal Family to have a flag for use in Canada.
The flag of The Duke of Cambridge will be broken during the official welcoming ceremony of Their Royal Highnesses to Canada, at Rideau Hall, on Thursday, June 30, at 3:15 p.m. The general public is invited to the grounds as of 1 p.m. on that day, to participate in the launch of the 2011 Royal Tour.
A fact sheet on the Royal flags for use in Canada is attached. High-resolution images of each flag can be found on our website via the links below:
Flag of Her Majesty The Queen:
Flag of The Prince of Wales:
Flag of The Duke of Cambridge:
Two personal flags, for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, have been created under the powers of the Canadian Crown. The designs of the new flags were developed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, working with the households of Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge.
Personal heraldic flags are used all around the world to identify the presence of individuals at a particular location or while travelling. Since 1962, Her Majesty The Queen has been the only member of the Royal Family to have a flag for use in Canada.
The two new flags are based on Her Majesty The Queen’s personal flag for use in Canada, and use the Royal Arms of Canada, in banner form, as their basis.

The flag of HM The Queen bears a blue roundel within a wreath of roses in gold. The centre features her Cypher, composed of the letter ‘E’ with the Royal Crown above it, also in gold.

The flag of HRH The Prince of Wales bears a blue roundel within a wreath of golden maple leaves for Canada. The centre features the badge commonly known as The Prince of Wales’s feathers, used by the heir apparent to the Sovereign. Near the top of the flag is the traditional heraldic mark of an eldest male child, the three-point white label.

The flag of HRH The Duke of Cambridge bears a blue roundel within a wreath of golden maple leaves for Canada, and of shells, a symbol borrowed from his coat of arms. The centre features his Cypher, composed of the letter ‘W’ with a coronet above it that indicates he is the child of the heir apparent to the Sovereign. Near the top of the flag is the personal three-point white label charged with a red shell, taken from his coat of arms.

Thursday 23 June 2011

House of Lords and the Canadian Senate -- The Final Days?

HM The Queen of Canada and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh sitting on
the thrones in the Senate of Canada
The British House of Lords and the Canadian Senate are the only unelected upper houses of the major western democracies. The Canadian Senate was closely modelled on the House of Lords, and with its plush red furnishings and regal thrones, its chamber also bears a striking resemblance to Britain's upper chamber.

As an institution, the Senate is far more powerful than the House of Lords. Both institutions have been criticized for many years and, in both cases, various reform proposals have been laid before Parliament only to be kicked into the political long grass.  Now, as the British Parliament deals with its draft Lords Reform bill, the Canadian Parliament is also to be presented with a draft Senate Reform bill. They will make for fascinating comparison. It will be interesting to see whether the Canadian proposals have any impact upon British discussion.

I post below a recent commentary by Conservative Senator (and Monarchist) Hugh Segal, with which I do not necessarily agree.

  Jun 23, 2011 – 6:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 22, 2011 5:31 PM ET  Original LINK HERE

By Hugh Segal 
The Senate of Canada
Senate reform matters. It is not some ideological indulgence, or some biased regional project. It is a task that has been attempted over 19 times by different governments since Confederation. As societies change and evolve, the nature of the democratic institutions that serve them must also adapt or risk becoming irrelevant or, worse, dysfunctional.
The debates that led up to Confederation in 1867 indicated that the Senate was, in its original creation, about class. Canada’s founders envisaged the Upper House as an appointed constraint on the power and authority of the Commons. Their discussions proved far more wide-ranging than ultimately made it into the British North America Act, which tells us two things: First, that many of the debate participants anticipated being in the Senate during their career, and secondly, that Canadian democracy was still a nascent idea, encompassing barely a decade of “responsible government.”
In 2011, the notion that one-third of our federal legislators are unelected and unaccountable to voters is an unacceptable anachronism. When I accepted a Senate appointment from prime minister Paul Martin (choosing to sit as a Conservative as opposed to a Progressive Conservative, Liberal or Independent), it was thus my determination to work for change and democratization from the inside. I have twice presented motions on holding a public referendum on abolition, status quo or reform, in 2007 and 2009. Both times the NDP concurred and Prime Minister Harper indicated that while reform was his preference, any failure at reform might well necessitate the abolition discussion.
The current government’s proposals on Senate reform, introduced this week, are reasonable and straightforward, and do not require reopening the Constitution. There is precedent for similar changes: prime minister Lester B. Pearson reduced the “lifetime appointment” to 75 years of age in the 1960s without a constitutional agreement, and Alberta has elected several senators who have been appointed, one by prime minister Brian Mulroney (Stan Waters) and another by Prime Minister Harper (Bert Brown) when Alberta vacancies occurred. These two appointments and the electoral process that produced them in Alberta were not challenged constitutionally in any way.
The reforms being planned are not only legitimate, but reasonable and timely. Prime Minister Harper has campaigned on this priority in ’04, ’06, ’08 and ’11 and won more seats in each election than the previous. His has sought a mandate and, under the terms of our first-past-the-post system, received it directly and clearly.
The NDP has every right to propose abolition, although even if passed by the House and the Senate, such a move would actually require unanimity among all the provinces. The holding of such a debate on abolition vs. reform is essential, in order to fully air the issues at hand and explore both the government’s position and that of its critics.
As to some opponents’ angst about American-style gridlock, the United Kingdom dealt with this many decades ago through a “Powers of Parliament Act” the ensured that the House of Commons must always prevail, even after a delay in the Senate. The Senate, as an elected body of staggered terms of eight- or nine-years’ duration, would be a constraint and balance to the House of Commons that acts with reason and wisdom.
For years, parliamentary observers, academics and historians, along with lobbyists and others have argued that prime ministers have too much power in majority parliaments. These reform proposals are an effort by our present Prime Minister to limit those powers by creating a better balance between the legitimacy of the House and the legitimacy of the Senate. That effort should be embraced and celebrated by all those on the left, the right and the centre who see Canadian democracy not frozen in amber, but progressing and adapting to the real world.
National Post
Senator Hugh Segal was a member of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Reform in 2006/2007 and is the author of The Right Balance: Canada’s Conservative Tradition (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011).

My commentary on Royal Visit Protocol for 1310 News Ottawa

Royal visit protocol

1310 News and Canadian Press  Jun 22, 2011 12:11:34 PM
When it comes to what should and shouldn't be done in front of royalty there are a few rules, but for the most part acting natural is best.
Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, a royal commentator tells 1310News the royal family doesn't like when people get too wrapped up in the intricacies of protocol.
"The key thing is to be yourself, to relax and to observe common decencies, common manners," he says.
There are, however, a few rules that should be obeyed.
"Gentleman should give a short bow from the neck and ladies should give a small curtsey," he says. "One shouldn't address a member of the royal family until they have spoken to you and similarily don't put out your hand to shake unless they extend their hand to you first."

While there are different protocols for different events, Heydel-Mankoo says Canada Day should be fairly simple.

"Wear what you want, wave a flag, smile and enjoy the occasion," he says. "No one is going to be looking over your shoulder making sure you're doing the right thing."