Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip wave goodbye to the crowd at Vancouver International Airport in October 2002. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam)

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip wave goodbye to the crowd at Vancouver International Airport in October 2002. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam)

Peers: Remembering dinner with the Queen and Prince Philip

Royal couple visited Victoria for Commonwealth Games banquet in 1994

Elida PeersContributed

With the sad news of the passing of Prince Philip, many folk are going back in their memories recalling occasions of royal visits to Victoria.

Certainly our area has been favoured with events where a number of people got to meet the Queen or the royal couple, such as a tea in Beacon Hill Park, and of course Prince Philip was in Canada many times due to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

A memorable occasion for four Sooke residents took place in August 1994, when we were invited to the Queen’s Commonwealth Banquet at Government House, in connection with the XV Commonwealth Games. Rick Kasper, MLA for Malahat-Juan de Fuca, and his wife Doni Eve were there representing the riding; not sure why my husband Jim and I were invited except that I had spent the previous three years in a volunteer administrative capacity with the Games.

ALSO READ: SOOKE HISTORY: How Sooke’s downtown core developed

Doni and I had practised our curtsies, and we all stood in line nervously waiting for our names to be called out for presentation to the Queen and the Duke. Besides the royal couple, the receiving line was composed of Prime Minister Jean Chretien, his wife Aline, Premier Mike Harcourt and his wife Becky.

My meeting with the Queen left me with the feeling that she was a caring mother just like the rest of us, worrying about her kids. The Duke, on the other hand, surprised me by appearing to me not as tall and robust as his photographs, but certainly very cordial. By then in his 70s, age was probably beginning to take its toll.

After the presentations we moved on to the large banquet room, set up with round tables.

The seating plan had Jim and me seated with the Kaspers, along with a lady in waiting to the Queen, and her escort resplendent with decorations. The fourth couple at the table was Robin Blencoe, minister of municipal affairs, and his wife.

The atmosphere was very sociable; our table was adjacent to that of the Queen and the Duke, and this proximity led my husband, who liked to be irreverent, to tell people afterwards that the Queen had a run in her stocking. Of course that wasn’t true.

ALSO READ: SOOKE HISTORY: Whiffin Spit once a log dump and booming area

Among others we knew at the dinner besides Games president George Heller and his wife were Mel Cooper and his wife Carmella, and Carole Sabiston, the fabric artist I’d partnered with on our Commonwealth Games project, and her husband, Jim Munro of Munro’s Books. Cameras were not allowed, of course.

It was an exciting experience to share in a very small way with a royal couple whose lives were dedicated to service, and we know the Queen will miss Prince Philip greatly.

Elida Peers is the historian with Sooke Region Museum. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Just Posted

NIC’s new president Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12. Domae has worked at NIC since 2000, most recently as the executive vice president, academic and chief operating officer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
New North Island College president launches draft strategic plan

Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12, 2021

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of homicide in Port Alberni

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Royal Bay pride crosswalk restored following graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Colwood high school

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance and later died. (Collin C photo)
UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies from injuries sustained in Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

(PQB News file photo)
RCMP on the hunt for serial Rathtrevor Beach flasher

Two separate incidents noted at provincial park on April 30 and May 14

Residents living in the 41-unit King George Apartments on Fifth Avenue and Argyle Street in Port Alberni will be able to remain there after the Canadian Mental Health Association and Province of B.C. partnered to purchase the building in May 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Province steps in to secure housing for Alberni apartment tenants

CHMA receives $3-million grant to help purchase building near city hall

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Campbell River RCMP. RCMP photo
Two knife incidents reported on same day in Campbell River

Stabbing and knife fight both occured on May 13

Most Read