Queen Elizabeth II makes nine-day Canada visit

29th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Queen Elizabeth II launched a nine-day visit to Canada on Monday, although Quebec, where anti-British sentiment has lingered, was not on the itinerary.

"It is very good to be home," the queen told hundreds of Canadians standing in blustery rain in hopes of catching a glimpse of Canada's titular head of state.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed the queen, clad in a yellow hat and a raincoat over a yellow suit, noting she had visited his country more than any other member of the British Commonwealth of former colonies.

"We are honored that you have given us so generously of your time," he said, recalling that watching the monarch riding in her motorcade near his childhood home in Ontario was one of his "earliest and fondest memories."

During her 22nd official tour of Canada, the queen will preside over a parade of naval warships in Nova Scotia. The Canadian vessels still bear the initials HMCS -- Her Majesty's Canadian Ship. Her visit coincides in part with the centennial of Canada's Navy.

For Canada Day on Thursday, she will travel to parliament in Ottawa and deliver a speech as the country marks 143 years since it was established. The 84-year-old monarch will also visit the government and drop in on the newly refurbished Canadian Museum of Nature.

The queen, whose silhouette appears on Canadian coins, is visiting the country with her husband Prince Philip.

She had much praise for the country she has witnessed modernize during her tenure at the helm of the British throne.

"As queen of Canada for nearly six decades, my pride in this country remains undimmed," she said.

During the last segment of her Canadian tour, she will travel to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she is expected to attend a horse race, and then wrap up her tour in Toronto, where she is due to visit a high-tech company.

Queen Elizabeth then travels on to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly on July 6 and visit the site where the World Trade Center towers collapsed during the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A stop in Montreal is not in the cards, after her son Prince Charles had an eventful royal visit in Quebec.

The heir to the throne and his wife Camilla were met with egg tosses and shouts of "Majesty go home" from more than 200 protesters who urged Montreal and Quebec to break away from the British Commonwealth.

© 2010 AFP

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