Queen Elizabeth II visited Langley twice during her long reign as monarch of both Canada and the United Kingdom.
Elizabeth died at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday, Sept. 8. Her eldest son Charles became king upon her death.
Queen Elizabeth was the first monarch of the Commonwealth to reign through the age of jet travel, and she travelled extensively throughout her 70-year time on the throne.
However, her first visit to Langley happened in 1951, with her husband Prince Philip, when she was still princess.
On Oct. 26 of that year, the newly-married royal couple were on a train tour across the country, and stopped briefly in Fort Langley. They waved to a large crowd from the train as it passed slowly through the village.
Her second visit, 20 years later in 1971, was part of British Columbia’s celebrations of its centennial as a province of Canada.
After months of planning, Queen Elizabeth visited Fort Langley on May 8, with crowds of about 5,000 people turning out.
This time, she did not merely wave briefly from a railway car, but mingled with the crowds and was driven through the village itself to the historic fort site.
“Unlike Princess Margaret’s visit in 1958, there was a paucity of pomp and an emphasis on informality,” historian Warren Sommer wrote in Nothing Without Effort, his history of Langley Township.
After handshaking and presentations, Elizabeth and Philip were taken on a tour through the fort site. Queen Elizabeth had a chance for a “walkabout” to mingle and meet with people in the crowd.
At the end of the visit, 94-year-old Florence Madden presented the queen with a bouquet of flowers, and Queen Scout John Boots gave a presentation to Prince Philip.
After that, the royal couple where whisked off to Abbotsford Airport to fly to the Interior to continue their centennial tour.
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