The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh take part in Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill. Ottawa, Ontario. July 1, 2010.
Photo: Department of Canadian Heritage
A painting by Hilton Hassell of Princess Elizabeth and her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, square-dancing in Rideau Hall’s Ballroom on their last night in Ottawa. This special evening took place during the young Princess’s first Royal Tour of Canada in 1951. 
Painting: Hilton Hassell, The Royal Square Dance at Rideau Hall, 1951. From the National Capital Commission, Crown Collection for the Official Residences of Canada.
Photograph: MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, 2015 / Rideau Hall, GG02-2015-0301-001
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her first Royal Tour of Canada after ascending to the Throne. During this visit, Her Majesty would become the first Canadian sovereign to deliver the Speech from the Throne in the Senate Chamber. Ottawa, Ontario. October 14, 1957.
Photo: Canada Science and Technology Museum: CN Archive, CN003804 (copy from Canadian Heritage).
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II plants her fifth tree on the grounds of Rideau Hall, a red oak, during her most recent Royal Tour of Canada in 2010. 
MCpl Dany Veillette, 2010 / Rideau Hall, GG2010-0352-002

On September 9, 2015, at approximately 12:30pm (EST), Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, and became the longest-reigning sovereign in Canada’s modern era. Out of respect for her predecessor, Her Majesty did not wish to mark the day with elaborate celebrations. Instead, she and The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the new Borders Railway in Scotland and enjoyed a journey through the Scottish countryside with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. (Queen Victoria had also been in Scotland, at Balmoral Castle, the day she overtook King George III's record reign.)

Although Queen Elizabeth II did not encourage any large-scale festivities, citizens decided they wanted to mark the achievement with their own celebrations: a flotilla of historic vessels and passenger boats took part in a procession along the River Thames in London.

Her Majesty became the world’s oldest reigning monarch in 2007; another impressive milestone awaits her in April 2016, when she reaches her 90th birthday.

Did you know?

  • On her 21st birthday in 1947, before she ascended to the Throne, Princess Elizabeth addressed the Commonwealth, dedicating her life—"whether it be long or short"—to act in the service of others.
  • Queen Elizabeth II has marked many special occasions in Canada. In 1967, to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Confederation, Her Majesty came to Canada and addressed all citizens in a ceremony on Parliament Hill before cutting a gigantic birthday cake in front of 25 000 spectators. Watch Her Majesty's 1967 Parliamentary address.
  • During her more than 63 years on the Throne, Queen Elizabeth II has undertaken official tours to Canada 22 times as queen (she also toured Canada in 1951, as princess.) Her most recent Royal Tour was in 2010, when she visited Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto and Waterloo.
  • Her Majesty is now the longest-reigning sovereign in modern Canadian history. But the longest-reigning monarch of the colony of Canada was King Louis XIV of France (1638-1715). "The Sun King" reigned from May 14, 1643, to September 1, 1715 (72 years, 110 days). During this period, Canada was known as the French colony of New France.
  • Lengthy reigns have not been a common occurrence in Canadian history. Only three monarchs of Canada have reigned for 50 years or more:




Louis XIV

1638-1715 (age 76)

May 14, 1643 - September 1, 1715 (72 years, 110 days)

George III

1738-1820 (age 81)

October 25, 1760 - January 29, 1820 (59 years, 96 days)

Queen Victoria

1837-1901 (age 81)

June 20, 1837 - January 22, 1901 (63 years, 216 days)

Date modified: July 19, 2017