‘I am not a fair-weather friend’ | Royal Tour 2010

The Queen and her family have visited Canada countless times. This marks her 23rd visit since 1951.
Getty Images/ Reuters

They might not live in Canada, but the royal family sure visit a lot. They’ve come alone, with spouses and sometimes with kids. When Princess Anne competed at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, her husband, three brothers and her parents came to support her. It is the only time the entire royal family has been abroad in one place. The most frequent visitor is Prince Philip, who has crossed the Atlantic 43 times, including 22 times with his wife, Elizabeth (not counting their upcoming tour).

The Queen wasn’t kidding when she said to Canadians: “I am not a fair-weather friend.” On their epic 45-day tour in 1959 she and the duke of Edinburgh visited every province and territory. The fact that she was pregnant didn’t stop her, though she did have to order a new wardrobe.

That child, Prince Andrew, has perhaps the closest ties to Canada. In 1977, he spent six months studying at Lakefield College in Ontario, culminating in a long canoe trip in the Northwest Territories. He’s now a trustee at the school and regularly returns for paddling adventures in the wilderness with old classmates.

Recently it seems that royalty are here much of the time. Charles brought Camilla on his 15th visit last fall, while Prince Edward was in Vancouver this March for the Paralympic Games. And in April two princesses were here at the same time—Princesss Anne presented new colours to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment while Princess Alexandra of Kent celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Queen’s Own Rifles.