Our Royal memories

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II earlier this month was a surprise to many and we have great sympathy for her family and those around the world who revered her and feel the loss. The Queen showed remarkable commitment during her reign of more than 70 years as Head of State. It’s clear that she made a lasting impact and was beloved by many, evidenced by King Charles III in the address he made after her death.

“Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen – my beloved Mother – was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example.  Queen Elizabeth’s was a life well lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today.”

Along with her other duties, The Queen showed tireless support for many charitable organizations. According to the Royal website, “The Queen saw public and voluntary service as one of the most important elements of her work. Her Majesty had links – as Royal Patron or President – with over 500 charities, professional bodies and public service organisations. These varied from well-established international charities to smaller bodies working in a specialist area or on a local basis only.”

In October of 1984, we witnessed firsthand the graciousness of The Queen when we had the privilege of hosting Her Majesty for a brief, albeit very memorable, visit.  

Invitation to the opening of WCAM in 1984

We had recently moved our museum into the former Trans Canada Air Lines hangar on Ferry Road. When the museum’s board members caught wind that she was coming to Manitoba as part of her Royal tour, they sprang into action, contacting her office about a stop at the museum.

Though The Queen had a very full schedule, she graciously made time to stop by and help us officially open the museum. Her Majesty’s visit was only about an hour, but she left an impression on all attending. RAMWC board member—and at the time, board President—John Davidson recalls that The Queen was “very friendly, very knowledgeable, and easygoing.”

The exact details of what piqued Her Majesty’s interest about our humble museum have been lost over time. It seems likely that it had something to do with our strong volunteer base and commitment to preserving history. Being such a supporter of such organizations surely appealed to The Queen’s philanthropic side.

That 1984 visit was a true honour. We were honoured again in 2014 when the museum was granted a ‘Royal’ designation by The Queen. The granting of this distinction is a prerogative of the Sovereign. It is very sparingly granted and strict standards are applied. The criteria are that an organization: be of pre-eminence in their field; be of long-standing (at least 25 years); be in a secure financial position; and be registered as non-profit organization under the Income Tax Act. Thanks to the long-time, consistent dedication of our founders and volunteers, we met all these criteria and were granted the designation.

It was a proud day for the museum when we received our ‘Royal’ title. We’re pleased with the strides we’ve made to become a world-class museum and will continue the work we’ve done that made us worthy of this designation.   

Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II.

Header image by Robert Arnold


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