Sovereign and Royal Family

The Sovereign

His Majesty King Charles III, as king of Canada and Canada’s head of State, is the personal embodiment of the Canadian Crown. As representatives of the Crown, the governor general and provincial lieutenant governors act on The King’s behalf. In Canada, the power to govern is vested in the Crown but is entrusted to elected governments to exercise on behalf of the people.

The essence of the commonwealth is its remarkable diversity. A family of some 2.4 billion people from 54 nations across 6 continents, whose traditions, knowledge and talents offer an incomparable richness of ideas and perspectives on
he world we share.

His Majesty King Charles III, London, England, March 2021

About His Majesty The King

His Majesty King Charles III, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born at Buckingham Palace on November 14, 1948. Named Charles Philip Arthur George, he became heir to the throne at the age of three upon his mother’s accession to the throne in February 1952.

In 1969, he was invested as The Prince of Wales by The Queen, a title he held until he became king.

He attended school in the United Kingdom and also spent two terms abroad as an exchange student in Melbourne, Australia. He would go on to study archeology, anthropology and history at Cambridge University.

Once he completed his studies, the Prince of Wales launched his military career by joining the Royal Navy, following in the footsteps of his father, his grandfather and two of his great-grandfathers. He qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1974, before joining the 845 Naval Air Squadron, which operated from the commando carrier HMS Hermes.

On September 8, 2022, following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, The Prince of Wales ascended to the throne and was proclaimed king. His Majesty King Charles III became King of Canada and the country’s Sovereign.

The King is patron of many organizations around the world that reflect his diverse interests and priorities, ranging from youth and education to the environment and organic agriculture.

He is married to Her Majesty The Queen Consort. He has two sons: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (Prince William) and The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry).

About Her Majesty The Queen Consort

Her Majesty The Queen Consort (formerly Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall) supports her husband, His Majesty The King, in carrying out his work and duties. She also undertakes public engagements on behalf of charities that she supports.

The Queen Consort was born Camilla Rosemary Shand on July 17, 1947, at King’s College Hospital London. She was first educated at Dumbrells School, in Sussex, and then at Queen’s Gate School in South Kensington. She also attended Mon Fertile school in Switzerland and studied at the Institut Britannique in Paris.

The Queen Consort was previously married to Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles; the marriage was dissolved in 1995. The couple had two children, Thomas Henry and Laura Rose, born in 1974 and 1978, respectively.

On April 9, 2005, The King (then Prince of Wales) and Ms. Camilla Parker-Bowles were married in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall, Windsor.

The Queen Consort is patron or president of more than 90 charities. Her charity work is varied but several themes prevail: encouraging health and well-being; promoting literacy, the arts and animal welfare; and supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault.

The Official Photo of His Majesty The King

For information on the official Canadian portrait of The King, please visit the website of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The Royal Family

The governor general plays an important role in maintaining Canada’s long-standing relationship with the Royal Family. The governor general greets members of the Royal Family upon their arrival in Canada for either official tours or working visits. When visiting Ottawa or Québec, members of the Royal Family typically stay at Rideau Hall or at the Citadelle of Québec, respectively.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible for the overall management of Royal visits, and shares the responsibility for their development and execution with provincial and territorial governments.

Messages to the Royal Family

Letters and greetings addressed to His Majesty The King may be sent to the following address:

His Majesty The King
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA
United Kingdom

The letter should be addressed to His Majesty The King; the salutation of your letter should be “Your Majesty”.

For security reasons, packages and gifts of any kind cannot be accepted and will be returned to sender immediately.

For correspondence relating to issues of Canadian concern (such as immigration, Canadian politics, Royal Assent of bills, etc.), His Majesty defers to the governor general as his representative in Canada. If such letters are received by Buckingham Palace, they will be forwarded to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.

All enquiries pertaining to the Royal Family, including honorary appointments to Canadian regiments, Royal visits, patronage, pledges of loyalty, or the use of the word “Royal” should be sent to:

Royal Correspondence
Office of the Secretary to the Governor General
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON  K1A 0A1
royal@gg.ca

Addressing a Member of the Royal Family

When meeting a member of the Royal Family, many people wish to observe tradition, though there are no obligatory codes of behaviour. Traditionally, for men, a neck bow (from the head only) will suffice; for women, a small curtsy. One can shake hands with a member of the Royal Family only if the member reaches out first.

The correct form of address on presentation to The King is “Your Majesty” and then, subsequently, “Sir.”

The correct form of address on presentation to the Queen Consort is “Your Majesty” and then, subsequently, “Ma’am.”

For other members of the Royal Family, “Your Royal Highness” on first introduction and then, subsequently, “Ma'am” or “Sir,” as required.

Criteria for Receiving Royal Patronage

Numerous Canadian organizations have been granted Royal patronage by the Sovereign and other members of the Royal Family—a very personal mark of both recognition and support. Therefore, having the right to carry Royal patronage is a tremendous honour that must be seen as being truly warranted, and based on significant contributions to the betterment of Canada and to Canadian society. Interested parties are asked to develop a detailed submission that fully addresses or confirms the validity of the following five points.

In order to be considered for patronage, an organization must:

  • possess a clearly stated mandate that encompasses specific and defined goals and objectives in service to others
  • be able to provide examples of ongoing, annual programming that speaks to such public engagement through specific activities and events
  • demonstrate a proven track record of sustained public service on a regional or national basis through specific examples
  • be in existence and functioning as an entity on an uninterrupted basis for a minimum of 25 years
  • have documented evidence that confirms financial solvency and effective / acceptable standards of organizational management

Each submission will be carefully reviewed by the OSGG; positive recommendations will be forwarded to the Royal Household in London for final consideration.

Requests for Royal patronage must be submitted to royal@gg.ca or sent by mail to:

Royal Patronage
Office of the Secretary to the Governor General
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON  K1A 0A1

Criteria for Receiving Royal Designation

The granting of the use of the prefix “Royal” to Canadian associations, organizations and other entities is a personal prerogative of His Majesty The King. Usage of the prefix “Royal” is therefore a tremendous honour that must be seen as being truly warranted, and based on significant contributions to the betterment of Canada and to Canadian society. Interested parties are asked to develop a detailed submission that fully addresses or confirms the validity of the following five points.

The association/organization/entity must:

  • possess a sustained record of service/accomplishment to the wider community that is well known, recognized and seen as pre-eminent in its field—a record worthy of royal recognition
  • have a well-defined mandate in an established discipline (e.g. the arts, humanities, science and technology, volunteerism, education, philanthropy, community service, etc.) that corresponds to a reach that is at least regional in scope (Note: consideration will only be given to recreational/athletic organizations in exceptional circumstances)
  • enjoy a long-standing and verifiable record of service/accomplishment that covers a minimum of 25 years
  • be duly registered as a non-profit entity under the terms and conditions of the Income Tax Act
  • have a well-defined and effective administrative structure as well as a current, verifiable state of sound finances

Each submission will be carefully reviewed by the OSGG; positive recommendations will be forwarded to Buckingham Palace for final consideration.

Requests for Royal designation must be submitted to royal@gg.ca or sent by mail to:

Royal Designation
Office of the Secretary to the Governor General
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON  K1A 0A1

Criteria for Naming a Building, Park, Scholarship, etc., after a Member of the Royal Family

In order to apply for the use of a Royal Family member's name, certain criteria must be fulfilled:

  • The building or facilities should be completed or almost completed at the time of the request
  • There should be no other building or park of a similar nature bearing the same royal name in the near vicinity
  • In the case of scholarships or bursaries, it is important to ascertain that the necessary funds are in place and that criteria have been established for these awards prior to submitting a request for approval

Each submission will be carefully reviewed by the OSGG; positive recommendations will be forwarded to the appropriate Royal Household for final consideration.

Requests to use the name of a member of the Royal Family must be submitted to royal@gg.ca or sent by mail to:

Royal Correspondence
Office of the Secretary to the Governor General
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON  K1A 0A1

Your application should include:

  • a detailed description of the feature being named in honour of the Royal Family, including details about its facilities and costs
  • a photo of the completed building or park

Royal Events

Please visit the Royal events in the UK section of the High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom website for information on such issues as Royal Garden Parties, the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, and the Royal Ascot.

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