The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Unveiling of a Stamp Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation

Rideau Hall, Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Welcome to Rideau Hall, the gathering place of the Canadian people.

The past 12 months have been special ones in the history of our country. Canadians of all ages and from all regions and backgrounds have joined together to celebrate the 60-year reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second as our country’s head of state.

This beautiful ballroom in this grand old building has been the site of many such celebrations, as we have assembled here several times to honour recipients of the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

We gather here this morning to continue commemorating our Sovereign’s Diamond Jubilee by unveiling a wonderful new stamp of Her Majesty.

Our timing is almost perfect. We’re only three weeks away from the exact date six decades ago—June 2, 1953—of Her Majesty’s coronation as Queen of Canada.

We’re even closer to the anniversary of the day on which the first Canadian stamps of Her Majesty as our Sovereign were released—May 1, 1953. These one- and five-cent stamps featured a likeness of the Queen that was based on a photograph she loved—taken by legendary Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh.

Much in our country has changed since that time. Yet one aspect of Canadian life has remained true. Her Majesty has spent the past six decades showing Canadians the very meaning of consistency, devotion and unceasing, unfaltering service.

We in turn have welcomed Her Majesty into our hearts and our homes. Queen Elizabeth has made 22 visits to our country, meeting thousands of Canadians and spending much time in hundreds of villages, towns and cities in every region of this vast land. For most of us, Her Majesty is the only monarch we have ever known.

Her Majesty’s unbreakable ties to Canada are reflected in the stamp we’re about to unveil. The stamp, which is based on a portrait in this very room, features Her Majesty wearing her Canadian honours. Our red maple leaf flag is clearly visible behind her. And a copy of the British North America Act, the founding document of Canadian Confederation, rests near her hand.

I thank distinguished Canadian artist Phil Richards for creating such a wonderful portrait, and also Deepak Chopra and his talented team at Canada Post for rendering it so beautifully as a stamp. It represents Her Majesty faithfully and does justice to her irreplaceable role in Canadian life.

By honouring Her Majesty in this way, we also recognize what is best about Canada. I think Her Majesty would agree with me.

We celebrate the origins, history and traditions of our country, dating back hundreds of years to the time when European kingdoms first made claims to what is now Canadian territory.

We express our faith in our lasting system of responsible government and the vital, indispensable place of the Crown in our democratic way of life.

And we show our devotion to uphold the time-honoured values that Canadian have relied on to make our country so great—equality, fairness, justice.

Our history. Our way of life. Our values. Her Majesty is inextricably linked to them—as she has been for the past six decades, as she will be in all the years to come of her glorious reign.

Thank you.