GUEST COLUMN: That’s the Prince and Duchess of Cambridge to you

It was hard not to be excited while Will and Kate were here, wasn’t it?

It was hard not to be excited while Will and Kate were here, wasn’t it?

The Duchess is stunning, there’s no doubt about that, and the Prince’s smile, bright eyes and steady voice are captivating.

They are beautiful together, both of them not yet 30, as they travelled our country, mingling with the common folk.

It’s important to remember they are far more than handsome Will and gorgeous Kate. The anti-royalists can complain all they want about the fuss, turning their nose up and saying they are immune to this fixation with celebrity and beauty. The Royal Couple represent far more than those petty trivialities and to ignore their true significance is to ignore our country’s history. For starters, they are not Will and Kate. We should be offended when our American cousins refer to them so lowly.

To all Canadians, they are Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. Our respect of their positions is not optional. This may be our country because we live in it but it’s actually their country. Queen Elizabeth is the ultimate ruler of this nation and her grandson William is second in line to the throne, behind his tediously dull dad.

The true leader of these lands has been the British sovereign since 1763. If you must be technical, the British seized Quebec at the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

Queen Victoria proclaimed the British North America Act in the spring of 1867, allowing Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to form Canada on July 1 of that year. Within four years, Canada stretched to the Pacific when British Columbia joined Confederation.

As a member of the Commonwealth, Canada entered both World Wars the moment Great Britain declared war.

Queen Elizabeth signed the Constitution in 1982 and the impact from the contents of that document continue to be felt (that’s the subject for another column next year for its 30th anniversary).

Our elected provincial and federal leaders require approval from the Queen’s representatives – the Lieutenant-Governor (and that’s left-tenant, not loo-tenant) in Victoria and the provincial capitals and the governor-general in Ottawa – to call elections and open and close sessions of Parliament and the legislatures.

These are not just mere technicalities or obedience to fussy old traditions.

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper went to Michaelle Jean , the Governor-General at the time, asking her to suspend Parliament (the official term is prorogue), she had the authority to deny his request and ask Michael Ignatieff to form government. Hello, constitutional crisis, if she had said no, but that, also, is the subject of another column.

Prince William and the woman whose official title will be Queen Consort when her husband becomes King are no mere celebrities. They are the living connection to our past and we cannot be proud of our nation and its history without being proud of them, too.

They are His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness to us. Nothing less will do.

– Neil Godbout, Black Press

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