Elizabeth, 1951 Canada

A page from my mother’s scrapbook. For five weeks in the fall of 1951 Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip toured Canada. It was her first trip here. My mother kept all the clippings she could find – and there were many.

Whether it was the coverage of that day, or just how Mom decided to arrange the clippings, I don’t know. But this one page gives some interesting perspectives on a young princess. On this tour, she was the star rather than accompaniment for her parents. She was also the worried daughter of an ailing father. No one knew at the time that four months later, she would be the Queen.

These clippings are probably from the London Free Press, but I don’t know for sure. Here’s the text of the articles:

Tour Trials Overwhelm Her Highness

by Douglas How

Ottawa, Oct. 11. (CP) – The Princess is obviously a bit overwhelmed by it all.

She wouldn’t be human if she weren’t.

Even for a person of royal blood, long schooled to absorb the triumphs and the tribulations of royalty, this Canadian tour is overwhelming.

Forgets to Smile

So Princess Elizabeth acts sometimes as though she were mentally pinching herself to make sure she isn’t dreaming. She forgets to smile. Occasionally she looks hesitant, sometimes even a bit scared, sometimes just shy. She turns to her husband and he grins and she is all right again.

She is a small, young, and – the women say – sweet girl of 25, caught up in an overpowering experience. Tens of thousands of voices acclaim her. Tens of thousands of mouths talk about her.

Men like [Governor General] Viscount Alexander, whom she’s probably held in a teen-ager’s awe, greet her with deference.

Mounties, in the red jackets she’s probably daydreamed about, surround her. They precede her on motorcycles. They guard her in the hundreds. They ride horses. They hold back tremendous crowds.

Unassuming Charm

In the face of all this spectacle and turmoil, Elizabeth conducts herself with a regal bearing, with dignity and a pleasant, unassuming charm. When she smiles, she has a beautiful smile but some people think she doesn’t smile enough at the crowds and there are reports that this information has been passed along to her staff.

She tries no flashy methods for appealing to the crowd. When she is driving in her open car and the people are cheering and she might stand up, she doesn’t stand up. She sits and waves to the people with a half-timed wave and her face is white and she looks at times as though this can’t all be true.

It’s not that she’s stuffy. She’s anything but stuffy. It’s just that she’s a young woman studying in a strenuous school for one of the greatest jobs in the world.

People Like Her

As for the people who have seen her in the streets, there is no doubt that they like her. They say nice things about her. As for the people who meet her, they say even nicer things.

Mrs. Ross Macdonald, wife of the House of Commons speaker, today showed Elizabeth a picture of the Queen taken in Brantford in 1939. It hangs in the speaker’s chambers. The Princess looked up at it for a long time, a mixture of pleasure, homesickness and devotion in her eyes. Then she went on with her tour.

After three days, it was already a march of triumph and success.

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REVIEWS HONOR GUARD – Princess Elizabeth reviews Royal Canadian Air Force guard of honor in Montreal. Flight Lt. Paul Roy, walking with the princess, was in charge.

For A Change, Duke Helped By Elizabeth

Ottawa, Oct. 11. (CP) Prince Philip got his signals slightly mixed at Canada’s National War Memorial yesterday, but Princess Elizabeth helped him back on the track.

The royal couple had placed a wreath at the base of the memorial, when the Duke appeared ready to march down the cenotaph steps again to rejoin the escorting party.

As he neared the top step, the Princess murmured “turn around.”

The Duke, dressed in the uniform of a naval lieutenant-commander, quickly wheeled about and saluted briskly while the Princess bowed her head in silent prayer.

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QUEEN IS ASSURED – Photographed through the doorway of the royal train, Princess Elizabeth telephones the Queen in England, to assure the family of their safe arrival.

Brooch Gift For Princess

Toronto, Oct. 11. (CP) – A platinum and gold brooch, encrusted with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, in the form of the Ontario provincial crest will be presented to Princess Elizabeth at the state dinner here Saturday night.

The brooch, in a black velvet-lined silver box, and Prince Philip’s gift, a cigarette box of native Ontario silver, will be presented to the royal couple as a gift from the people of Ontario.

Toronto is going to give the Princess a painting as a gift – and it will cost about $2,000. But just what picture it will be won’t be known until after members of board of control visit Toronto’s art gallery today.

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Neither Mom nor Google can tell me what painting was chosen for Princess Elizabeth. Nor can I find a picture of the brooch Ontario gave her. I’m guessing it looked like this coat of arms, encrusted with jewels. The motto, according to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, translates to “loyal she began, loyal she remains.” Appropriate to both province and princess queen.

On another page of Mom’s scrapbook: Elizabeth and Philip visit St Catharines. Here are details of a whistle stop that went from bad to worse. I hope it made many people laugh in the retelling – later, probably much later.

Princess Left Standing at Station (But Train Backs Up)

St. Catharines, Oct. 15. (CP) – Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were almost left behind here yesterday when their royal train started off without them after a scheduled 10-minute stop. And St. Catharines forgot to present them with its illuminated address.

At the Princess’ request, the St Catharines Pipe Band played while she stood on the welcoming dais. She had told Mayor Richard M. Robertson that elsewhere on the Canadian tour, the local bands performed after her departure.

So the band gleefully struck up. The train engineer took this as a signal that the stop from 2 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. was over and the train began to pull away.

Trainmen on the platform hastily jumped aboard, pulled the emergency cord and the train stopped. The royal couple got aboard and left.

In the excitement of welcoming the royal couple amidst a crowd of 40,000, Mayor Robertson forgot to present them with an illuminated parchment scroll which was lying in readiness on a table. It was sent to Hamilton, the next scheduled stop, and given to them there.

In sharp contrast to other stops on the Canadian tour, only eight persons, including Mayor and Mrs. Robertson, were presented to the royal pair here.

The Prince and Princess spent most of their time here waving to the crowds from the official dais.

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Above the St. Catharines story, Mom pasted a photo of the state dinner in Toronto on Saturday Oct. 13th. Elizabeth is in full princess regalia. The caption reads: “A state dinner concluded the lengthy program of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in Toronto. Her Royal Highness is seated at the head table with Premier Leslie Frost (left) of Ontario on her right and Lieutenant-Governor Ray Lawson of Ontario on her left.”

See more of Mom’s clippings in my Queen Elizabeth II. Rest in peace, ma’am, and thank you for 70 years of a second Elizabethan Era.

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