Sep 12, 2022
By Bob Komsic
(London) – Canada will have a “prominent” role in the lying-in-state and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom says, as preparations in London shift into high gear with one week to go before the ceremony.
Ralph Goodale told The Canadian Press that members of the Canadian delegation have already started to arrive to manage logistics, with RCMP and armed forces personnel expected to land in the next two days.
“Canada, being one of the most senior countries in the Commonwealth, will be prominent at the beginning of the laying in state and then later on when there will be official visits by the Governor General and by the Prime Minister,” he said in a telephone interview.
Goodale said the funeral preparations are an “amazing” undertaking for British officials, who have only a week left to finish planning the ceremony for a beloved world figure and co-ordinate the travel and movement of leaders from all around the world who will attend.
He said he will be one of three “official mourners” from Canada, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon. Goodale’s office is currently working with Rideau Hall, the Prime Minister’s Office and other entities in Canada to see how many more Canadians can attend.
He said Canada will also be represented by a large contingent of armed forces personnel.
“And of course, (the queen) was very fond of the RCMP, so they will undoubtedly have roles to play in the official pageantry of the line of state and then the funeral itself,” he added.
Goodale said that even as his office is wrapped up in co-ordinating the planning, he hasn’t lost sight of the enormity of the occasion.
The queen “has been a dominant factor in the lives of so many for so long,” he said. “And now she’s gone. Coming to terms with it constitutes enormous change.”
Goodale said it is still too soon to tell exactly what kind of king Charles III will be for Canada, but there are hints that he may be “a little more outgoing and a little less reserved” than his mother.
He noted that the newly-minted monarch went out to greet the public the day after his mother’s death, which shows a desire to connect. The accession council — which formally announced the new sovereign — was also televised for the first time, which Goodale sees as a “gesture of being open and inclusive.”
“I sense here a person who will want to travel, to connect with people, to be on hand personally as much as he possibly can,” he said.
He expects the new monarch will also continue to take an interest in issues that are important to Canada, including climate change, energy and Indigenous reconciliation.
(The Canadian Press)