Weather, welcome warm for Queen's arrival in Winnipeg
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Saturday, July 3, 2010 9:51PM EDT
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were greeted by a warm welcome -- and even warmer weather -- when they touched down for a whirlwind day of events in Winnipeg as they continued their nine-day tour of Canada.
Resplendent in a matching lavender hat and coat, the Queen took the honour of being first arriving passenger at Winnipeg's almost completed $585-million Richardson International Airport.
After a formal greeting by Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee and other local dignitaries, the Queen signed a letter for a time capsule to be opened in 2060.
Reporting from the airport, CTV's Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks said the letter was written to the province's youth, but the message won't be known until it's revealed in fifty years.
"No one is quite sure what she's written, that's a bit of a secret," Dirks said.
Before leaving the still-unopened airport terminal, the Queen took a few moments to chat with some of the well-wishers gathered for her arrival, including a thrilled Ursula Hartel.
"It was once-in-a-lifetime, a dream come true for me to speak to the Queen," Hartel said. "She's so beautiful, I didn't expect her to be so beautiful."
After the airport reception, the royal couple were driven in a motorcade to Government House where the Queen accepted flowers from members of the public who braved the threat of thunder and lightning amid humid 30-degree temperatures. Then, the Queen headed inside to inspect a copy of the Magna Carta.
The document, considered fundamental to the rule of constitutional law, is on loan to Manitoba for the next three months.
The Queen concluded the day's activities with the unveiling of a cornerstone at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The cornerstone includes a stone plucked from a meadow in Runnymede, England where King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215.
"That document was itself a cornerstone of democratic rights and gave rise to the rule of constitutional law that now flourishes across the English-speaking world," the Queen told the thousands who gathered at The Forks, where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet.
"Here at The Forks, the symbolism of Magna Carta is now joined to the historical importance of the site where aboriginal peoples have gathered for thousands of years to exchange views and resolve conflicts."
During Her Majesty's visit in Winnipeg, she also rededicated a statue of herself on the grounds of Government House. The visit did not include a trip on the water after a boat ride during the Queen's 2002 visit ended in Her Majesty having to be rescued when the boat's engine died.
The Queen and Prince Philip only spent about six hours in Manitoba before they make their way to Ontario. Though short, their stay in Manitoba was a hot one. By noon local time, the temperature with the humidex was 38 C, according to Environment Canada, which also issued a severe thunderstorm watch for southern Manitoba.
The whirlwind itinerary Saturday follows a quieter Friday, when the Queen took a single appointment and visited with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.