Canadian dignitaries gathered at Ottawa’s Christ Church Cathedral on Monday for a solemn send-off to Queen Elizabeth, the country’s longest-serving monarch.
Canada, a favoured member of the Commonwealth, was the only realm to hold its own national commemorative ceremony following the late Queen’s state funeral in the U.K. — a testament to the close relations between Canada and its former sovereign.
Throughout her reign, the Queen routinely referred to Canada as “home.”
Queen Elizabeth was eulogized by former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who had a positive working relationship with the monarch during his nearly nine years as head of government.
Mulroney said the Queen felt “a special, very deep love for Canada — its diversity, its geography and its history,” a genuine affinity for a country she regarded as “the greatest one in her realm.”
The Quebec-born former prime minister said he thinks Canada is as successful as it is now because of the stability of our Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, where the constitutional monarch is central.
While some other countries are beset by war, violence and political coups, Canada stands as a beacon of peace and strength, Mulroney said.
“We are largely unaffected by the major spasms of social and political discontent that have destroyed so many countries around the world. This didn’t happen by accident. The system of government chosen by our founders had much to do with it,” he said.
“Today, our system might appear anachronistic to some — I understand that — but to others, who constitute, in my judgment, the overwhelming majority of Canadians, the role of the monarchy and in particular the irreplaceable role played by Her Majesty for 70 years was absolutely indispensable,” he said.
WATCH | Brian Mulroney gives eulogy at ceremony for the Queen in Ottawa: