Queen Elizabeth II walks with Mayor Jean Pelletier during of his last visit to Quebec, in 1987, under the gaze of demonstrators brandishing posters with slogans against the monarchy.
Although she spoke French very well and her remarks about Quebec were always respectful, Queen Elizabeth II's visits to la belle province were sometimes controversial. Moreover, the Queen had not set foot in Quebec for more than 35 years.
According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, Queen Elizabeth II visited Canada on more than 22 occasions, including a few visits to Quebec, notably for the inauguration of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, the ;Expo 67 in 1967 and on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976.
But it was his visit to Quebec City in October 1964 that would have the most marked the collective imagination.
At the time, the Sovereign and Prince Philippe visited Canada to mark the 100th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences, which led to the founding of Confederation.
Prime Minister Jean Lesage had welcomed the royal couple in the Salon Rouge, where the Legislative Council sat.
The Catholic daily L'Action reported that in her speech delivered mostly in French, the Queen said: My ardent desire is that no one among my peoples are not coerced.
But outside, protesters who disapprove of his visit are being harshly repressed by the police. A riot breaks out and 32 people are arrested. The day after his visit, the daily newspaper Le Soleil wrote, in one, that the population showed coldness towards the royal couple.
The episode, now known as Club Saturday, will live on in our collective memory.
She had a relationship with Quebec obviously much more difficult than with the other provinces, because of the postcolonial history, summed up Daniel Béland, professor in the department of political science at McGill University.
According to him, Quebec has never been a particularly pleasant province for the royal family, one had to be careful in the way events were organized to avoid demonstrations.
This tension obviously increased during the Quiet Revolution and the rise of nationalism.
In the spring of 1982, the Queen traveled to Ottawa for the patriation of the Constitution; however, it will not cross the Ottawa River which separates Ontario from Quebec.
After the Queen signed the constitutional proclamation on April 17, 1982, Prime Minister Trudeau affixed his stamp of approval to the document.
In 1981, all Canadian provinces except Quebec, had agreed to pass the Constitution Act of 1982, which amended the Constitution of the country.
On April 17, 1982, the Queen, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the Attorney General of Canada, Jean Chrétien, signed the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982 which established the Charter rights and freedoms in the country's new constitution.
Canada then becomes an independent state without the consent of Quebec.
After Club Saturday, the Queen will be 23 years old before making another visit to Quebec.
At the time, the daily Le Devoir reported that demonstrations were organized during the royal visit to make known the positions of certain Quebec nationalists on royalty.
According to Le Bilan du siècle, an encyclopedia hosted on the Université de Sherbrooke website, Elisabeth II gave a speech in which she spoke of Quebec as a distinct society and alluded to Quebec; Meech Lake Accord emphasizing that all political leaders in Canada have contributed to achieving this happy harmony in diversity.
The next day, in the presence of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, she alluded to the sense of unity that is manifesting with renewed vigor among all Canadians.
Queen Elizabeth II with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on October 23, 1987.< /p>
It must be said that the queen spoke good French and was someone who was always respectful in her remarks. Everything was calculated, everything she said, everything she wrote and obviously, we supported Canadian unity, said Professor Daniel Béland.
In 2007, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had considered inviting him to the 400th anniversary of the City of Quebec which took place in 2008, but his possible visit had caused a outcry within the sovereigntist forces.
In an interview with The Canadian Press at the time, the President of the Council of Sovereignty, Gérald Larose, said: It is totally indigestible and undrinkable that the Queen of England comes to walk her hairpiece to salute the birth of the Quebec nation. This is unacceptable.
In the end, the queen never received the invitation for the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city and her visit in 1987 was her last in the world. #x27;only majority French-speaking province.
In April 2022, an Angus Reid poll showed that half of Canadians (51%) believed that Canada should not remain a monarchy for generations to come.
In Quebec, support for the end of the monarchy was 71%.
Another poll by Angus Reid, conducted in November 2021, showed that 55% of Canadians supported Canada's place in the monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II, but that this support fell to 34% for his successor, Charles, the new king of Canada.
The monarchy is an institution in decline, according to Daniel Béland, but with the death of the one who reigned for more than seven decades, the situation is likely to deteriorate.
Now there really is a major challenge for the monarchical institution because Charles is less popular than Elizabeth and that is going to have consequences in the UK and also in Canada.