On Monday, September 19th, a memorial service was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist to celebrate the life of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, after her passing on September 8th, 2022. This day was declared a provincial day of mourning in NL.
The service began with a vice-regal salute and remarks from the Reverend Roger Whalen. The Lieutenant Governor of NL, Judy May Foote, then addressed the gathering, recounting the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a princess and eventually the queen.
“Through seven decades of extraordinary change in an ever-evolving world, the queen was the epitome of duty, stability, wisdom, and courage. She was a woman of faith—she led with grace and with a sense of calm during times of both crisis and celebration,” said Lieutenant Governor Foote.
She also spoke about the Queen’s visits to NL, including for the province’s 500th-anniversary celebration.
“In Newfoundland and Labrador, our history with the monarchy can be seen through municipalities and communities, on schools and other buildings. This includes the QEii library, for which the Queen turned the sod during her visit in 1978 to the campus of Memorial University,” she recounted. “Her reign saw her travel more widely than any other monarch, including 22 visits to Canada, of which 3 were to NL. I had the privilege to spend time with HM at Buckingham Palace after I assumed the role of Lieutenant Governor. It was during that audience that we really came to appreciate and understand why the Queen was loved throughout the world—she was incredibly personable and had a great sense of humor,” she said.
Premier of NL, Dr. Andrew Furey, also spoke about the Queen’s connection to the province.
“Through the pomp, tradition, ceremony, duty and through the strict protocols, at the end of the day, it’s that personal connection that has touched so many hearts. This is not just the royal family’s loss or the United Kingdom’s loss, it’s a loss we all feel.” On her life of service to the Commonwealth, he said. “The Queen herself being part of the war effort [during World War II]—that’s always the example she set—to engage with, answer to and serve the people. It was a commitment she made when she first took the crown and it’s something that she strived to do over a 70-year reign.” “Her commitment to service defined her as a monarch and a role model to those in public service,” said Furey.
Premier Furey remarked, “I hope we should all be so lucky to lead a long and meaningful life, to give to others as much and as often as we can, and to never lose our curiosity in all things. Rest in well-earned peace, your Royal Highness—Newfoundland and Labrador will always carry you in our hearts.”
The service also included prayers from the Interfaith community, an address by the President of the Muslim Association of NL, Dr. Syed Mansoor Pirzada, and renditions of ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ by local musicians Shelley Neville and Peter Halley and ‘I Will Sing You Home’ by the Shallaway Youth Choir.
Public members were also present at the service to pay their respects. A group of tourists from Ontario who attended commented, “She was a brilliant and respected woman, who served her country for many decades. It was a great experience to be able to attend the service here, and to remember her life.”