FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Queen of England on Canadian currency and postage?
Why does Canada have a Queen?
Isn't the Prime Minister the head of Canada? 
Why does the Queen not live in Canada?
Why is Prince Philip not a king?
Who will be the next King or Queen of Canada?
Why is the Queen on only the Canadian $20 note?
What is the Governor General?
What is the Lieutenant Governor?
What is a Consitutional Monarchy? 
Does England control the Canadian government?
How much does it cost Canadian taxpayers to have a monarchy?
Why do we celebrate the birthday of a queen who's been dead for almost 100 years?
Why do we celebrate the Queen's birthday in May when her birthday is in June?
What is Government House?
Why do Canadian ships all have HMCS before their name?
 

 
Why is the Queen of England on Canadian currency and postage? 
The Queen appears on Canadian money and stamps in her capacity as Queen of Canada, not as Queen of the United Kingdom (the same physical person, but two separatelegal personalities).  Her Majesty is Queen of the United Kingdom, but she is also Queen of a number of other realms, including Canada, where she assumes the title "Queen of Canada".
 
Why does Canada have a Queen?
Canada is a contitutional monarchy.  Since 1534, when the King of France claimed possession of what is now Canada, the history of our country has been marked by the reigns of an uninterrupted succession of monarchs, both French and British, who have had a significant influence on our country's development. 
 
Isn't the Prime Minister the head of Canada? 
The Prime Minister is the head of govenrment; the Queen is the head of state.  Executive authority is formally vested in the Canadian Sovereign and exercised on his or her behalf by the Governor General.
Why does the Queen not live in Canada?
While the Queen is our head of state, she shares that title with a number of other countries around the globe.  She obviously can't be physically present in every country of which she is Sovereign, so she relies on her vice-regal representative to act on her behalf. 
 
Why is Prince Philip not a king?
Queen Elizabeth II is Queen in her own right.  Her husband, Prince Philip, is the Queen's consort and is not entitled to be sytled king.  When a king succeeds to the throne, his wife takes the title of queen because this is the title bestowed on the king's consort.  The same thing happens lower down in the British Peerage.  If a man is created Lord XYZ, his wife becomes Lady XYZ.  However, if a woman is created Lady XYZ in her own right, her husband remains Mr. XYZ.
Who will be the next King or Queen of Canada? 

Succession to the throne is by male-preference primogeniture and governed by the provisions of the Act of Settlement and the English Bill of Rights. These documents are now a part of Canadian constitutional law. Canada's rules of succession are identical to those of the United Kingdom by the Statute of Westminster.
 
Assuming that Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales survives his mother, the Queen, he will become the next King of Canada.  When The Prince of Wales accedes to the Throne, it is intended that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will be known as HRH The Princess Consort.
Why is the Queen on only the Canadian $20 note?
The reigning monarch and members of the Royal family have always graced the Canadian bank notes.  In the 1935 series, former Prime Ministers graced the front of two notes; Sir John A. Macdonald on the $500 note and Sir Wilfred Laurier on the $1000 note.  In the 1937 series, these two ministerial faces still graced the $100 and $1000 notes.  In the 1954 series, the image of the Queen was placed on all bank notes, then in the 1969 series the two familiar ministerial faces returned, along with William Lyon Mackenzie King and Sir Robert Borden.  The $1 note was not reissued in the 1986 series, and the production of the $1000 note was ceased in 2000, along with the $2 note in 2001.  This leaves the $20 note the only one with the image of HM on Canadian paper currency.
What is the Governor General?
Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy.  This means that Canadians recognize The Queen as our Head of State.  Canada's Governor General carries out Her Majesty's duties in Canada on a daily basis and is Canada's de facto Head of State.
What is the Lieutenant Governor?
Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy.  This means that Canadians recognize The Queen as our Head of State.  Each province in Canada has a Lieutenant Governor who carries out Her Majesty's duties in the province on a daily basis and is the province's de facto Head of State.  The Governor General acts for the government of Canada, whereas the Lieutenant Governor acts for the provincial government.
What is a Constitutional Monarchy?
Canada is a constitutional monarchy. This means that the powers of the monarchy in Canada are limited by the Constitution. The Constitution is a set of basic principles, laws and rules that explain the powers and duties of the government and the rights and freedoms of the citizens.
Does England control the Canadian government?
The Constitution Act of April 17, 1982, transferred formal control over the constitution from Britain to Canada, and added a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as procedures for constitutional amendments.
How much does it cost Canadian taxpayers to have a monarchy?
It costs an average of $1.10 per Canadian to support the Monarchy in Canada.  This money does not go to the routine expenses of the Queen, but rather to the offices of the Governor General and Lieutenant Governor.  Contrary to public rumors, at no time do Canadians "pay money" to Britain or to the Royal Family.  The only tax dollars that are spent on the monarchy are for the Vice Regal offices and Royal Visits.
 
Why do we celebrate the birthday of a queen who's been dead for almost 100 years?
As the name suggests, Victoria Day was originally set to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria.  After her death, Canada continued to use this day to celebrate every monarch's birthday.
 
Why do we celebrate the Queen's birthday in May when her birthday is in June?
Queen Elizabeth's birthday is April 21st, but we celebrate it in May on Victoria Day, as we have for every monarch since the death of Queen Victoria.
 
What is Government House?
Government House is the official residence of the Governor General or Lieutenant Governor.  Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, is the official residence of the Governor General.  Each province, at one time, had their own Government House for the Lieutenant Governor, but today only some are actually residences, some are museums and some sadly, have been demolished.
 
Why do Canadian ships all have HMCS before their name?
The prefix HMCS is applied to any Canadian Forces warship. The prefix stands for Her Majesty's Canadian Ship, as these are ships of Her Majesty's Canadian Armed Forces.
 
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