Canadian Collectors: Queen Elizabeth II Memorabilia
Queen Elizabeth II has always held a special place in this collector’s heart.
In the Presence of Royalty
On February 6, 1952, the bells of the nearby cathedral in Prince Alberta, Sask., were ringing as we girls at the Presentation of Mary boarding school were eating lunch. As it turned out, the bells were sounding for His Majesty, King George VI, who had died peacefully in his sleep and was found deceased in his bed at Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, that very morning. Princess Elizabeth, who was at the royal hunting lodge in Kenya at the time, immediately became Queen at the age of 25, although she only took the royal oath to seal her accession to the throne two days later, upon her return to England.
Of course, I was only six years old at the time and knew nothing of all this, but I did recall the tolling of the bells a few years later, when I became aware of Queen Elizabeth II and my lifelong admiration of her took root.
Besides the fact that I think Her Majesty bears some resemblance to my own mother, Pauline Mah (née Chaykowski), who is two years older, there are many reasons why our Queen is dear to me and has been for more than 60 years. She cares about her people in the British Commonwealth countries and shows it by visiting them, sometimes many times, in her years as their Queen. She has a lovely, friendly smile, which she generously bestows on the loving crowds who are fortunate enough to see her.
She supports many charities and organizations financially, and with her presence when possible. From her youth, she has stayed close to the people by radio broadcasts, TV appearances and visits to many countries.
Queen Elizabeth has steadfastly remained serene and unchanging through personal sorrows and trials. She has been a good example of duty and strength to her family and her people around the world. Her Majesty continues to be true to the words of dedication she spoke on her 21st birthday in 1947, even before she was the queen:
“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family, to which we all belong.”
Given my affection for the Queen and the pride I feel in the exemplary manner in which she interacts with people throughout the Commonwealth and around the world, it’s little wonder that I was inclined to collect and even create mementoes of her remarkable reign to date.
The bulk of my collection consists of books and magazines I have accumulated over the years. One dear lady, Dora Davies, gave me an impressive selection of magazines featuring the Queen, from as far back as 1952; she also gave me two coronation cups and saucers, which I cherish to this day.
In addition to those cups and saucers, I would have to rank the serving tray imprinted with a photograph of the Queen among my absolute favourites. I had admired it in my mother’s home for many years and when it came into my possession, I was quite moved. Then, of course, there is my coffee mug bearing various pictures of the Queen, which was given to me by my daughter. I use it each and every day.
My publications and all the assorted items I have collected, everything from stamp sets to paper dolls, continue to bring me joy. I also express my appreciation for the Queen with a paintbrush. Exercising the painting skills I am still trying to hone, I’ve created a portrait of the Queen at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland (see photo at top of lefthand page). My artist friend Claudia Greaves taught me how to paint the rocks and waterfall. In August of this year, I took on the challenge of doing another painting of the Queen, this one based on a photo of her taken in 2014 to mark her 88th birthday. Two other members of our “Painting for Pleasure” seniors group are also doing a portrait of the Queen, so I am not alone in my admiration of her.
My grandchildren – Jayda, Lara and Christian – are half British, their father having been born and raised in England. While all my Queen Elizabeth II treasures keep me close to Her Majesty in spirit, being the grandmother of children who are half-British is even more special.