Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Red Deer, June 28, 1990. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Red Deer, June 28, 1990. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer and the Royal Family

The recent passing and funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in many respects, marks the end of an era. Originally Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, had a distinguished record of active service (including combat) in the Second World War as an officer in the Royal Navy.

He and Queen Elizabeth II were married for more than 73 years. For the last 69 years, since Elizabeth ascended to the throne, he has been the Prince Consort. To use Queen Elizabeth’s famous quote, Philip was “quite simply been my strength and stay all these years.”

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip made many trips to Canada. Since Philip had a particular attachment to Canada, he made nearly four dozen visits to this country on his own. However, when Queen Elizabeth made a visit to Red Deer on June 28, 1990, to officially open the paediatrics ward at the Red Deer Regional Hospital, Phillip was not with her.

The first royal visit to Red Deer occurred almost 110 years ago on Sept. 5, 1912. His Royal Highness, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathern, made a formal visit to the community. He was accompanied by the Duchess of Connaught and their daughter, Princess Patricia, after whom the famous Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry regiment is named.

Prince Arthur was the third eldest son of Queen Victoria. Victoria had not only been the reigning monarch until her death in 1901, but had also become the symbol of the British Empire at its height. Moreover, Prince Arthur was the Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916.

The Town of Red Deer went to considerable effort and expense to prepare for the royal visit. Business owners throughout the downtown area filled their front windows with patriotic displays. They also mounted flags and bunting on their buildings. A special reception pavilion was constructed in the public park in front of the CPR station.

Unfortunately, heavy rain that day put an end to all of the outdoor events. The waiting room in the new CPR station was turned into an impromptu reception hall. Moreover, because of the wet weather and recent illness, the Duchess of Connaught decided to stay on the train on which the Royal party had arrived. Thus, only Prince Arthur and Princess Patricia disembarked to meet the large crowds who were crammed into the station, or else stood enthusiastically in the rain for a glimpse of the Royals.

Prince Arthur, in his capacity as Chief Scout of Canada, made a formal presentation of colours to the Red Deer Boy Scout troop. Unfortunately, it is unknown what eventually happened to those historic colours.

In late May and early June, 1939, King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, made a highly successful cross-country tour of Canada. On June 2, when the King and Queen stopped in Edmonton, it was estimated at more than half of the population of Red Deer went up in hopes of catching a glimpse of the couple.

The next royal tour took place during the Second World War. On August 13, 1941, His Royal Highness, Prince George, the Duke of Kent and brother to King George VI, made a very brief ten-minute stop at Red Deer’s CP railroad station. The Prince was making a whirlwind tour of Air Force training bases across Canada to boost the war effort.

On July 26, 1980, Her Royal Highness, Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth, made an official visit to Red Deer to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Province of Alberta. There was a short reception at City Hall followed by a luncheon at the Capri Centre. The first Princess Margaret Scholarship in the Fine and Performing Arts was presented as part of the ceremonies. The Royal party departed by helicopter to Joffre for a tour of the Alberta Gas Ethylene plant, and then on to Edmonton.

There has not been a Royal visit to our community since June 1998. The Queen and Prince Philip did visit Alberta in May 2005 as part of the celebrations of the centennial of the province. During that visit, then-premier Ralph Klein announced that Highway Two was being renamed Queen Elizabeth II Highway.

Red Deer historian Michael Dawe’s column appears Wednesdays.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

If you're heading out to the West Country have a plan in case things go wrong, says Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services fire chief Steve Debienne.
(Photo from CRFRS Facebook)
West Country visitors should have an emergency plan: regional fire chief

Cellphones can’t be relied on in many back country areas

Rode
Sarcevic leads an impressive list of additions to RDC Kings soccer

In 2019 the RDC Kings soccer program took a major step forward… Continue reading

The Red Deer PCN Women's Fun Run will take on a different look this weekend with rising COVID-19 numbers.
Women’s Fun Run goes ahead this weekend in Red Deer

With new public health measures in place because of rising COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

David Eggen, the NDP’s advanced education critic, said the UCP government has been focused on cutting funding to post-secondary institutions across Alberta. (Contributed photo)
NDP worry new status for Red Deer College doesn’t mean more funding

This week the province announced that RDC will become a polytechnic institute

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Toronto Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernandez (37) hits a single to drive in two runs against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame 2019 inductee Jayna Hefford speaks in Toronto on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, centre, makes a shot as lead Briane Meilleur, left, and second Shannon Birchard sweep against Denmark at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, May 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Canadian athletes, coaches applaud news of vaccine doses ahead of Tokyo

Canadian athletes, coaches applaud news of vaccine doses ahead of Tokyo

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in Ottawa, Thursday, July 30, 2020. The Canadian Press has learned that Katie Telford has written members of the defence committee inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against Canada's former top military commander, offering to testify at their meeting Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

Most Read