Leaving a lasting royal impression
A look back at historical Calgary visits from royalty
As Calgarians mourn the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, we are also paying tribute to the indelible memories of historical royal visits to our city.
Prince Philip made several official tours to Calgary, with and without Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, spanning half a century. The changes our city has seen during that time are remarkable. The Queen was still a princess when she and husband Prince Philip made their first visit to Calgary in October 1951. That year our population was a mere 129,060. That number exploded past one million to 1,056,000 when the royal couple last saw Calgary together in 2005.
Prince Philip regards the guest register at Historic City Hall on October 18, 1951. Calgary Mayor Don Mackay stands nearby. Courtesy Glenbow Archives
The Calgary Stampede put on a special rodeo and chuckwagon race demonstration in the royal couple's honour. The photo below shows Stampede president J.B. Cross, the grandson of A.E. Cross -- one of the Big Four who started the Calgary Stampede -- between the two royals during a snow squall. Calgary's then Mayor Donald Hugh Mackay (who served 1949-59) began the tradition of welcoming distinguished guests with a cowboy hat. The Duke of Edinburgh was often white hatted when City officials welcomed him, and this year, belt buckles and bracelets were also presented as gifts to bring home to their famous children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Prince Andrew. A barbecue luncheon was served in the Corral for the special guests as well as more than 2,000 spectators.
Besides the exciting Stampede events, a visit to the Indian Village saw the pair meet with chiefs and villagers, pictured below. The Queen and Prince Philip enjoyed another tour of the historic teepee and community gathering when they returned to Calgary in 1959.
The weather was much warmer when the couple returned in 1973 to officially open the Stampede in July. In total, the pair visited three Calgary Stampedes -- 1951, 1959 and 1973.
The City of Calgary’s thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family during this difficult time. A provincial condolence book can be found here. More information about The Duke of Edinburgh can be found on The Royal Family’s website.
Prince Philip’s Calgary Visits and Stopovers
1951 – Royal Visit with Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth – Oct. 18
1959 – Royal Visit with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – July 9
1969 – Official Visit (solo) for The Duke of Edinburgh Awards – Oct. 23-24
1973 – Royal Visit with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – July 5
1979 – Stopover to attend meeting of Commonwealth Study Conference – Oct. 25
1980 – Official Visit His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh's Fifth Commonwealth Study Conference – May 19-22
1985 – Official Visits to Banff and Lake Louise with Arrival and Departure Ceremonies at the Calgary Airport – Aug. 19 and Aug. 21
1992 – Private working visits for the World Wildlife Fund engagements – March 7 and March 12
1992 - Private working visit in Calgary for the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth Conference – July 14-17
2005 – Royal Visit with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – May 25