Alison Redford was sworn in Friday as the province's 14th premier in a ceremony at the Alberta legislature in Edmonton.
Redford, 46, held the Bible that belonged to her grandmother, Robina Anderson, as she took the oath of office in front of Lieut.-Gov. Donald Ethell and a packed legislature rotunda.
After she was sworn in, the new premier reflected on the campaign that led her to winning the leadership of the ruling Progressive Conservative party early Sunday morning.
"People have said that this leadership campaign marked a sea change for Alberta," Redford told the audience. "I don't agree. I think what happened here is that Alberta politics caught with where Albertans already are."
In her speech, Redford spoke about her mother, Helen Redford, who died suddenly last week. Redford said her mother was the person who first encouraged her to get involved in politics.
"The only shadow on today is my mom who's not here to see it," Redford said as her voice broke. "Without her being the daughter of Robina Anderson, our grandmother, I wouldn't be here today."
Redford thanked her family for their support and singled out her nine-year-old daughter, Sarah, "who has been both supportive and wise beyond her years."
"I am very proud of you Sarah, and I love you very much," Redford said, as she turned and smiled at the little girl.
Redford also paid tribute to her husband, Glen Jermyn, for being "a wonderful husband and father ... a great adviser, a confidant, a patient partner and cheerleader," her sisters Melody and Lynn, and her father Merrill.
Some cabinet ministers absent
Redford takes over from Ed Stelmach who formally stepped down as premier Friday. The new premier said the opportunity to serve the province is an "incredible gift."
"Public service is not ever something to be taken lightly and I know that my colleagues in the legislature feel that way," Redford said. "It is an honour and it is one that I will endeavour to be worthy of each and every day that I hold this office."
Political observers are looking forward to Wednesday when Redford announces her cabinet.
Redford, a former justice minister under Stelmach, was able to win the leadership without receiving any endorsements from her former cabinet colleagues.
Two were conspicuously absent for Friday's swearing-in ceremony: leadership rival and former finance minister Ted Morton and Energy Minister Ron Liepert.
Liepert, a former health minister, said earlier this week that he opposes Redford's plan to hold a public inquiry into allegations that politically connected individuals were able to jump the health-care queue with the help of Tory MLAs.
Finance Minister and Treasury Board President Lloyd Snelgrove told the Lloydminster Meridian Booster that he would turn down an offer by Redford to be part of her cabinet.
Snelgrove supported former Klein-era cabinet minister Gary Mar in the leadership race.
Another leadership candidate, Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths, said while some of the absences might have been caused by personal matters, it's time to move on.
"There's bound to be a little bit of tension. The question is how fast you can overcome it," Griffiths said after the ceremony.
"And I know that Premier Redford is doing everything she can to overcome that, and there will always be some people that aren't happy."
Education Minister Dave Hancock, a Mar supporter, attended Redford's swearing-in ceremony. The new premier announced this week that Hancock would continue in his role as government house leader.