Yukon leaders jumped to express public condolences following the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death on the morning of Sept. 8.
Commissioner Angélique Bernard met with Premier Sandy Silver at the Taylor House in Whitehorse to sign a condolence book in the Queen’s memory.
“It’s sad,” Bernard told reporters. “She’s the only monarch that we have known, being on the throne for 70 years, so I think it’s a part of history that has gone with her.”
The Queen passed away at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, at the age of 96.
While Bernard never met the Queen herself, she recalled warm memories shared between colleagues at the lieutenant governors’ office.
“They were all really amazed at how funny she was. That’s something that comes up, that she was a jokester and she made people laugh,” Bernard said.
The Queen had increasingly handed duties over to the throne’s successor, Charles, and other members of the Royal Family this year. After recovering from COVID-19 last February, she developed mobility issues and began using a cane.
Buckingham Palace announced early on Sept. 8 that the Queen had been placed under medical supervision out of concern for her health.
Despite this, the passing of a steadfast public figure is still a shock, the premier said.
“We just thought she was going to live forever, you know,” Silver said. “It doesn’t make it any easier that we knew this could be coming … I think everybody’s reeling.”
Silver reflected on the Queen’s influence as an “amazing leader, a strong force [and] a calm presence for so many years.”
The commissioner’s office has cancelled all public events for 10 days following the Queen’s death. The Council of the Federation Literacy Award ceremony had originally been planned for Sept. 8.
The condolence book is available for signing at the Taylor House. In lieu of flowers or other tokens, Yukoners are encouraged to donate to a charity of their choice or sign the condolence book online. Bernard noted that the late monarch was a patron of more than 600 charities herself.
Public condolences were also issued by the Yukon Party, Association of Yukon Communities and City of Whitehorse.
Flags across Whitehorse with fly at half-mast until Sept. 18.
– With files from Jim Elliot