Canada Greets Her King

Vive le Roi! Vive le Duc !

LESLIE ROBERTS May 15 1939
Canada Greets Her King

Vive le Roi! Vive le Duc !

LESLIE ROBERTS May 15 1939

Vive le Roi! Vive le Duc !

LESLIE ROBERTS

The above words were spoken recently before a prominent women’s club in

THE French Canadian, since he is predominantly of Norman extraction, will feel he is once again a subject of the Duke of Normandy, one of the titles of His Majesty (the one, as a matter of fact, by virtue of which he still reigns over the Channel Islands), a title which owes nothing in seniority and precedence to that of King.”

Montreal. The speaker was Emile Yaillancourt, Litt. D., Honorary Colonel, Laureate of the French Academy, expert in the subject which Quebec speaks of as tourisme, ardent devotee of racial bonne entente in Canada, and, what is more important here, active organizer (as joint secretary of the Citizens’ Committee) of Montreal’s welcome to Their Majesties.

The Province of Quebec has prepared a Norman welcome to its rulers. From the

moment of their arrival on Canadian soil at 10.30 a.m. on May 15 at Quebec, until the Royal train crosses the interprovincial boundary. Ottawa-bound, during the night of the 16th-17th, the King and Queen of the British peoples will be greeted by their French-Canadian subjects as they might be by dwellers on foreign soil within a few hours sail of the English coast. With this exception: A welcome to Norman France would be that of friendly, related neighbors; Norman America's will be that of loyal subjects.

Massed throngsof French-singing schoolchildren will keynote the welcome in piping voice. “Dim Protège le Roi!” will be the song, raised enthusiastically in a part of the country in which “O Canada!” often takes precedence over what English Canadians speak of as the National Anthem. But, in singing their “translation” of “God Save the King,” Quebec and Montreal scholars will raise their voices in what, to them (or to their instructors, in any case), is still the plea first sung by the nuns of Saint Cyr for the life of Louis XIV, when Le Roi Soleil lay sick of a fistula and the leeches despaired of his life. They sang Grand Dieu Saurez le Roi, an even doser approximation to our own words, but the tune, even then, was identical with today's. Norman France gave us the anthem in which Their Majesties’ acclaim will be sung from one end of Canada to the other. Norman Canada will remind us of the gift when the King and Queen come to town !

And why not. asks Jean Baptiste? Does not the King trace his ancestry in direct line to William the Conqueror, the Norman who subdued England but gave to the vanquished the right to develop along their own racial lines, retain their language? Is not the Queen a lineal descendant of Robert the Second of Scotland, son of Robert the Bruce, himself an authentic Norman? Dieu Protège le Roi!

That will be French Canada’s welcome to Their Majesties— and three out of every four citizens who line the way to cheer their reigning monarchs, as they pass through the streets during their first thirty-six hours on Canadian soil, will be sons and daughters of Normandy.

A Hi-Racial Welcome

"DUT that is not all. Quebec is not ■*-* entirely Norman and her Frenchspeaking majority shows no desire to steal the show on the great day. Thus you will find English Canadian and French Canadian side by side throughout the hours while Royalty passes through the domain. In Montreal, for example, Arthur B. Wood, president of the Sun Life, and Beaudry Leman, eminent French-speaking banker, share chairmanship of the welcoming committee. Charles A. Roy and T. Taggart Smyth, Frenchand Englishspeaking. are joint treasurers. Vaillancourt and Gardiner are secretaries, arid so through the list.

English-speaking Quebec, as usual, finds no room for complaint as to the space allotted to it in the sun by the French-speaking majority. Differ we may in many matters, but not in the basic fealties and certainly not in common courtesy to each other. It is an EnglishCanadian celebration every bit as much as it is a French-Canadian jete. The president of Montreal's Saint Andrew’s Society will sit at table with the King, as far above the salt as the head of the Saint Jean Baptiste Society, and just along the board will be the chief officer of the Jewish Congress. This may be French Canada’s great opportunity to show its loyalty to a Norman monarch, but it is everybody else’s opportunity too, and no spotlights stolen !

In Quebec and in Montreal the occasion is one set aside for People, not Persons. First, of course, must come the official welcoming of Their Majesties by the King’s Ministers, Privy Councillors and other national dignitaries as Royalty comes ashore in the cove where Wolfe landed. But twenty-five minutes later the

cavalcade sets out on the first of several journeys through the tortuous streets of the Ancient Capital to receive homage of a French-speaking Lieutenant-Governor, a French-speaking Prime Minister, and members of a Government overwhelmingly French-Canadian. At the Legislative Buildings, just outside the battlements, for which the first designs were sent from France by the fourteenth Louis’ Minister of War, Vauban, French Canada’s homage will be tendered in the language of Quebec’s lieople to a monarch whose motto remains "Dieu et Mon Droit,” and who prefixes his proclamations with the phrase, "Le Roi le teu’t.”

Luncheon will be tendered by the Government of Canada, dinner by the Provincial Government, tea will be served at Spencerwood, official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor in office. But during little more than half a day the Royal pair will spend almost five hours in the streets of Old Quebec, receiving the homage of the people of New France, and terminating their first day on the soil of the New World by watching a fireworks display in their honor across the river on the heights of Levis. Meanwhile their subjects will jam-pack Dufferin Terrace, below the Royal apartments in the Citadel, and echo their last cheers into the night hard by the ground where Wolfe and Montcalm fell.

’Twill Be a Norman Holiday

TUTOW many children of Normandy will

k line the streets of Quebec that day it is impossible to predict. From distant Tadoussac and La Malbaie on the North Shore; from Montmagny, Kamouraska, Rivière du Loup and Rimouski on the south bank; from Chicoutimi and the Lake Saint John country in the northeast, they will descend on the capital in motors, in special trains, in every manner of conveyance peculiar to a region which still believes that the old things are best. Campers will bivouac in the fields toward Sainte Foy; modern motor trailers will park on vacant land beyond Limoilou. As this is written not a room along the Royal route may be chartered for love or money. Points of vantage at upper-story windows were bespoken long since by country cousins, uncles and aunts, by grand'mère and grand-père. Probably 250.000 Canadians, ninety per cent of whom will shout their acclaim in a tongue strange to most of Canada’s millions, will greet the King and Queen along narrow streets festooned in Union Jack and Tricolor. What more fitting testimony could be offered to the oft-questioned solidarity of Canada and the true spirit of this young Monarch’s Empire?

From the Citadel the Royal cavalcade will set out again at nine o’clock on the morning of the 16th. Half an hour later the Royal train will leave the Palais Station on a journey which will take it across Canada and back, through the eastern States and back to North America’s eastern tip. All that morning it will whisk through the rolling countryside of agrarian French Canada, pausing briefly at the industrial city of Trois Rivières, where the voices of a budding French-speaking metropolis again will blend in the anthem. “Dieu Protège le Roi.” At 2.15 the train will enter the northern precincts of Canada's largest city and the third greatest French-speaking community in the world. Here Montreal takes up the swelling tone of the Norman welcome to a Norman king.

Montreal’s Enthusiasm

r'PHE Big Town will waste no time in * getting down to the serious business of welcome, for only eight hours are allotted to the Royal stay, during which it is estimated that more than a million people will seek opportunity to swell the loyal chorus. Fifteen minutes after the Royal train’s arrival in the northern suburbs, the King and Queen will set out on a four-

hour procession through city streets w hich

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will carry the cavalcade deep into the teeming French-speaking east end, out onto Saint Helen‘s Island in the Saint Lawrence, with all its historic association with the past, and thence back into the city.

From the riverside section, where the twin spires of Notre Dame and the Seminary of Saint Sulpice (1685) look across Maisonneuve’s memorial into the portals of the Bank of Montreal and, out the corner of an eye, at that monument to modern finance and industry, the Aldred Building, the King and Queen move on into the English-speaking west end. where the welcome will contrast sharply with that of the other side of town, yet by its very contrast bring home the bonne entente of this bi-racial, bilingual metropolis. Reaching the summit of Mount Royal, still sacred to the horse-drawn sleigh or victoria. the Royal motorcade will pause for half an hour's relaxation-now-tea, thence back down the mountainside, across upper Westmount and back to the Windsor Hotel, home of Their Majesties for their one-day stay in America’s largest Frenchspeaking community. Along that route the stirring strains of “Dieu Protège te Roi!" will have been heard again and again as the procession swings through the city, on Fletcher's Field and at the Stadium, where serried ranks of FrenchCanadian youngsters will shrill the anthem under the batons of their teachers. Across the town, in English Montreal, other young voices in their thousands will have raised the song, “God Save the King.’’ The tune is the same, the thought the same, only words and language differ.

AÆONTREAL’S choice of headquarters for the Royal pair and their household fell on a hotel which itself is essentially bi-racial. Part continental, part American, yet of distinct Canadian flavor, perhaps no caravansary in the country more effectively reflects the temperament of a region in which two races reside as equals (despite all debaters to the contrary). Sixty years ago, H. R. H. Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of the Marquess of Lome, then Governor-General of Canada, was guest of honor of the official inaugural ceremonies. The present Duke of Windsor stayed there on his last visit to Canada as Prince of Wales, Prince George, now Duke of Kent, accompanying him. Foreign Royalty. Canadian Governors-General, at least two of the Motherland's Prime Ministers-inoffice, have been among the Windsor’s guests in other days. What more fitting, then, than that Montreal’s city fathers should order the Royal Apartments made ready for the reigning grand-nephew of the Princess who attended the Windsor’s gala opening sixty years ago and who survives to this day, a young lady of ninety?

At the Windsor, too, will be tendered the banquet to Their Majesties which will mark the close of a strenuous half-day among the people of Montreal. Montreal has adopted an extremely fussy attitude toward that dinner. Its invitation list is not based on who-you-are so much as what-you-do. High civic officials, local parliamentarians, membersof the judiciary, presidents of the city’s various national societies (St. Andrew’s, St. George’s, etc.) will sit at the communal board. Men of outstanding military achievement, men of top-flight rank in the learned professions, industrialists who have achieved something bigger than the simple amassing of a few millions for themselves; these and their ladies will gather in the Windsor that night to break bread with their King and Queen. The mere ownership of an outsize architectural outrage, the simple fact that one’s father left ten or twelve millions behind, mere membership in the town’s own peculiar café society, will not be enough.

Dinner will be at eight o’clock that night, and it will be formal but not grandiose. Its menu will lean toward the delicacies which French Canada regards

rightly as being peculiarly its own. And the hosts, acting for the people of Montreal, plan to see to it (they tell me) that the "feel” of the occasion will be to reflect to Their Majesties the fraternity and equality of the two major races in the province. Quebeckers. I might add. have become pretty adroit in such matters, principally because they feel that way about each other, inside their own borders.

At eleven o’clock, while the citizens turn their attention from what, down this way, would be referred to as a “veritable fête de nuit” to the opixxtunity to shout their last fervent farewells, the Royal party wifi, move swiftly through the city streets, back to their continent-spanning home. Quietly the train will move away from the glare lights, halting somewhere beyond the town to permit a quiet night’s sleep to those on board, the strains of the Norman anthem still ringing in the ears of those who have heard it throughout the day, almost wherever they have been. Next day, in mid-morning, a blue and silver train, its cars banded in gold, will glide into Ottawa’s Union Station to meet the welcome of a National capital.

"DUT Quebec will have another day, for early in the morning of June 12 a long train of sleepers, baggage cars, jx>st-office equipment and other standard rolling stock will be shunted through the junction at Delson, several miles south of the Saint Lawrence, across from Montreal. A few minutes later, switched onto Canadian Pacific tracks from those of the United

States company over which it will have I rolled north from New York, the train will glide away quietly toward the southeast Twenty minutes later a train, bearing the Royal coat of arms, will coast to a halt at the same junction, be shunted over the same switches and steam away behind its pilot train.

That morning Their Majesties will ride across the douce marches of Quebec's Eastern Townships and, just before noon, will pause for forty minutes in Sherbrooke, bustling capital of that rich agrarian region, a city which cannot quite make up its mind whether to continue to be of Northern New England (as to its outlook and its civic conscience), or to add its name to the roster of the French-speaking industrial towns. Still not sure, Sherbrooke calls it a draw, equably and pleasantly remaining one of the few important communities in Quebec (if not the only one) which automatically alternates between French-speaking and English-speaking chief magistrates, year after year. In such a town, obviously the keynote will be that of racial comity and, as Their Majesties descend to the platform for a brief drive through the city, they will hear again, in each of Canada’s official tongues, the anthem which is at once a blessing and a prayer. And so they will pass on, across the French country again, to Levis and on beyond to Rivière du Loup, Rimouski and the New Brunswick line.

Vive le Duc de Vornwndie! Dieu Pro tège le Roil