It was a privilege to photograph Queen Elizabeth in 2002 when she visited the new Musical Ride Centre as part of her Golden Jubilee celebration. Only two photographers were permitted to walk alongside the Queen during the 40-minute tour, her official photographer and me.
About 2000 people eagerly awaited her arrival at the Centre in Ottawa, the tenth day of the nationwide visit. More than 1700 media accreditations were processed for the event, an unprecedented number for a Royal visit to Canada.
I remember how soft-spoken she was with everyone she met, and how she seemed to genuinely enjoy chatting with the pipers, riders and my RCMP colleagues. She seemed comfortable networking with the Mounties, especially when her favourite subject of horses came up.
I recall how Commissioner Zaccardelli (pictured) was immensely proud to escort the Queen on site, and he later displayed my photos on his office wall.
For most of the visit, I stood just a few feet away from Queen Elizabeth. I was impressed with her skin, how perfect and radiant it was!
I took about 500 photos, and gathered information to write a behind-the-scenes story for our magazine, highlighting our media relations’ perspective in pulling off a high-profile event like this.
I met the Queen’s sons, Charles and Edward, a couple years later at other official events, but the Queen’s visit was on another level. It was fascinating to see how she was well respected and admired by people of all ages. You could literally feel the buzz in the air that day.
Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth.