Joyce Stuart fondly remembers meeting Queen Elizabeth II in 1971 in Penticton.
Stuart, who now lives in Duncan, was married to Penticton’s mayor at the time, Doug Stuart, and the Queen, who died on Sept. 6, visited the city as part of B.C.’s Centennial celebrations that year along with her husband Prince Philip and her sister Princess Margaret.
Stuart said she and her husband greeted the royals at the airport and briefly talked to them before heading into the city in a motorcade, with the route lined with people seeking to get at least a glimpse of the famous head of state of Canada.
The Queen and her entourage spent a day in Penticton meeting with various youth groups and members of the public before attending a banquet in the evening.
Stuart said she and her husband had honoured seats at the head of the table next to the Queen and Prince Philip at the banquet, and were able to converse with them freely.
“The Queen was just so gracious,” Stuart said, still in awe of the encounter decades later.
“She was whole-heartedly interested in those around her and asked all kinds of questions. The Queen struck me as being very comfortable in her role.”
Stuart said the Queen and her party spent that night in the Pilgrim House hotel, the best in the city, and she was astonished at the amazing amount of security that it entailed.
“All the staff and anyone who was at the hotel had to have security checks and given credentials while the Queen was there,” she said.
“I have never seen anything like it before.”
The royals left the next morning for Kelowna, and then headed back to the Britannia, the royal yacht, to continue the tour of the province.
“It was great to meet the Queen,” she said.
“I still have a photo album full of pictures of her visit to Penticton. What a fantastic lady she was.”