For a lot of people the passing of HM seems like a personal loss. And as I reflect back on her visits to Canada what naturally comes to mind is the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton. The scene was something like this.
I found that picture by happenstance yesterday while browsing on-line here
. I'm pretty sure that's not
my ambulance, but I do believe I was in the vicinity (if I'm correct in assuming it's at the Commonwealth Stadium) on that day. And it's definitely not me in the background near the front of the amb (I wasn't that
husky back in the day, nor would I wear a beret in that manner). I wasn't that close to the Queen on that day but my opportunity came about at another event.
On the day that my ambulance was providing coverage at the Kinsman Aquatic Centre, the Queen (I don't remember Philip being there) attended some of the swimming events. We were parked near a service entrance on the far side of the facility as it made access into the building easier in case of an emergency. We had been there a while, sitting outside in the vehicle, when a Med O Colonel came up to us, introduced himself as being with Her Majesty's entourage and said that the Queen would be entering the Aquatic Centre by this door instead of the main entrance. He wanted our cooperation in providing a raised platform for a cameraman. In other words, he asked us to move our amb and let a TV camera on top of the box so that they could get better coverage. He very much stressed that it wasn't an order, it was left to us as long as it didn't interfere with our duty. He sweetened his proposal by offering to have us stand by the door (with him) as Her Majesty entered and that he would introduce us to her and explain what we doing there. How could we not refuse.
We reset our position, helped the cameraman up unto the box, warned him about safety and that if we had to go in an emergency then he better get off quick and his camera be damned. We didn't have long to wait for the official party to arrive. By this time a small crowd and security had gathered to watch the Queen's arrival, but the Colonel was true to his word and we were standing at the door with him anticipating our "royal audience". Her car arrived, she got out and started down the walk to the door, she made a couple of interactions with people lining the walkway, she got near the door, Donnelly (my MSE Op crewmate) and I saluted, she smiled and at that moment someone in her party said something to her and they entered the building. The Colonel said "sorry guys" and followed them. That's my royal memory.