Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. leaders, friends and fans react to Queen Elizabeth's death

Queen Elizabeth’s death after 70 years on the British throne has prompted reactions and tributes from people across Newfoundland and Labrador on Thursday.

The Queen died Thursday after 70 years on the British throne

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Brian Tobin sit on the stage at Cabot 500 celebrations in Bonavista on June 24, 1997. (CBC)

Queen Elizabeth's death after 70 years on the British throne prompted reactions and tributes from people in Newfoundland and Labrador on Thursday.

In a statement, Premier Andrew Furey noted the Queen was a constant figure in Canadian life.

"Her Majesty exemplified the true meaning of service to Canadians and her memory will live on as a reminder of tireless service and dedication," he said.

Interim Progressive Conservative Leader David Brazil called the Queen's legacy "unrivaled."

"We shall not see a more prolific reign in our lifetime, her dedication to public service unmatched in history," he said.

Also in a statement, Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote said members of the public can sign a book of condolences at Government House for the next 10 days.

While speaking with reporters, Foote called the Queen's death "heartbreaking."

"She will be missed as she is being mourned by people throughout the world."

Foote said she was nervous about meeting the Queen when she visited Buckingham Palace in 2018, but ended up chatting with her for 40 minutes.

"When you were in a conversation with her, you could tell that she hung on every word, that she really was engaging and enjoying the conversation," she said.

Foote said the Queen gave her portraits of herself and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

"I thought, when I looked at them today, they're together now," she said.

Memories of the Queen

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth visited Newfoundland and Labrador in 1959, 1978 and 1997.

John Crosbie Perlin of St. John's first met Queen Elizabeth when she visited the province in 1978. He was president of the St. John's Regatta Committee, and hosted the Queen at the event. He later went on to serve as Canadian secretary during a 1990 royal visit and as commander of the Royal Victorian Order.

"It's been a very, very interesting part of my life to have been involved in so many of these royal visits," he said.

A man, seen from the torso up, sits on a green chair. A book shelf is behind him on the right side.
John Crosbie Perlin met Queen Elizabeth on several occasions and served as a commander of the Royal Victorian Order. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Perlin said Queen Elizabeth was kind and courteous, and had a way of putting people at ease. He said she also had a sense of humour.

"To work with the Queen was quite amazing," he said.

He noted that the Queen, who spent 70 years on the throne, was one of the most famous people in the world — and he isn't sure her successors will be able to replicate that relevance.

"It's an institution. I think that's the way I would put it," he said. "It's up to the person who's the head of the institution to make it relevant."

WATCH: A look back at Queen Elizabeth's 3 visits to Newfoundland and Labrador 

Queen Elizabeth: Visits to Newfoundland and Labrador

7 years ago
Duration 1:26
On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth became the longest-serving British monarch. To mark the occasion, we present some of the coverage of the Queen's visits to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Betty Fitzgerald, a member of Bonavista town council for 28 years, was deputy mayor when the Queen visited the town to commemorate 500 years since explorer John Cabot landed in the community.

She credits Queen Elizabeth's visit with igniting the tourism industry in the community, which was attempting to reinvent itself after the cod moratorium.

"The Queen's visit opened people's eyes to see what we are here to offer," she explained.

Fitzgerald recounted her introduction to the Queen — and her reaction when she heard Fitzgerald's first name, Elizabeth.

"She looked at me and smiled and said, 'A nice name, isn't it?' And I said, 'Yes, ma'am.' And we both had a little chuckle over that because we both had the same same first name."

Linda Hennebury, who has a portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth displayed in her Quidi Vidi home, is a longtime admirer of the monarch.

"She was responsible for whatever came on her shoulders," she said.

A woman stands holding a black and white portrait of a young woman - Queen Elizabeth.
Linda Hennebury, a longtime fan of the Royal Family, met King Charles when he visited in May. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Hennebury said she inherited her love of the royals from her grandmother, who was fiercely proud of her British heritage.

Hennebury met Prince Charles when he visited St. John's in May — and she had some choice words for him.

"I wished him good luck and I said to him, 'Don't you forget she's your mother,' and I said, 'You love her to pieces, don't you forget that,'" she said.

Hennebury said she believes the Royal Family will remain relevant, especially once Prince William ascends the throne.

"He's a good young fella," she said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Garrett Barry

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