Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral was held at 2 a.m. PST this morning at Westminster Abbey in London.
Here in BC, we honoured her memory and her service to Canada in a procession and commemorative memorial service.
At about 10 a.m., Victorians who had been given the day off to mourn the death of The Queen gathered at the Parliament Building for the beginning of the procession.
The Netherlands Centennial Carillon–the bell tower outside the Royal BC Museum–chimed 96 times; one for each year of Queen Elizabeth’s life to start off the procession.
Then, Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin and Premier John Horgan came down the Parliament Building’s steps to a military marching band playing on the front lawn.
Next, a 21-gun salute by the 5th (BC) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery fired their first round, and the procession began the 1.4 km journey to Christ Church Cathedral by way of Government Street.
The procession was made up of the band leading the way, then members of the military followed. Horse mounted police from Vancouver Police followed them and in the rear of the procession was Premier Horgan, Lieutenant Governor Austin and several other dignitaries.
Victorians lined the streets and followed behind the police escort that was along to protect the procession.
The 21-gun salute continued as the procession marched toward the cathedral.
Once the procession arrived at the steps of the Christ Church Cathedral, the members of the military and marching band did a special salute and a ceremonial march back toward parliament.
All members of the procession and many members of the public were then admitted to the cathedral and took their seats while an angelic adult choir sang a peaceful entrance hymn. Once everyone was seated the choir sang O’ Canada and the public joined them.
The Very Reverend, M. Ansley Tucker began the service with a territorial acknowledgement and an opening prayer.
Dignitaries such as the Honourable Mike Farnworth, Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, H. Walford Davies, the Honourable Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development read bible verses and psalms for Her Majesty The Queen.
Victoria’s Children’s Choir and Young Choristers of Christ Church Cathedral then sang an anthemic hymn.
Then Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin took the podium to say some words about her role in regards to Queen Elizabeth II.
Austin remarked upon The Queen’s oath she swore 70 years ago to serve the nations she reigned as sovereign. “The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God,” said Her Majesty The Queen in 1953 when she ascended the throne.
As longest reigning monarch, she never wavered in her devotion to the throne, her people and the oath she swore all those years ago.
Lieutenant Governor Austin spoke to that dedication and The Queen’s “willingness, grace and undying devotion to her people.”
To end her speech, Austin said she is confident King Charles III will show the same devotion his mother did, and ended her speech with a simple “long live The King.”
Premier John Horgan was the last speaker of the service. He kept his speech short and sweet.
Horgan remembered fondly as a child when he’d occasionally see a coin with a man on it and thought in his youth that, “it must be worth less than the coin with The Queen on it.”
The Premier told the cathedrals guests about all the times the Queen visited our humble province and how she not only loved BC’s beautiful mountains, valleys and forests but she also had a true affinity for it’s people which, “added to the beauty the province has to offer.”
Horgan also remembered when The Queen went to Rogers arena to drop the puck for a Vancouver Canucks game against the San Jose Sharks.
“She came out with her little purse clutched in one hand and a puck in the other,” said Premier Horgan.
He said it was one of the most Canadian things he has ever seen.
Now that the service is over, Tuesday, September 20th will be the last day for members of the public to sign one of the condolence books.
One condolence book open to the public is at the main entrance to Government House at 1401 Rockland Avenue, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The other book is in the Hall of Honour and will be available to sign from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
After September 20th the messages will be collected.