‘A rare woman:’ Regina royal professional marks Queen’s 96th birthday

It’s a special day for the Royal Family.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 96th birthday Thursday.

Regina’s Michael Jackson has grown to know the Queen over the years, being a former royal protocol officer and helping her during her various visits to the province.

“She’s an extraordinary lady,” Jackson told the Greg Morgan Morning Show on Thursday. “She’s been to Saskatchewan. She’s been part of our life here in this province for a long time.”

Jackson said the Queen visited Saskatchewan in 1973 as a part of the RCMP centennial celebration and also toured the province in 1978, 1987 and 2005.

He recalled accompanying her during that latest venture.

“She’s a very kind and gracious lady,” he said. “She’s so petite. I’m only 5’9” and this little lady on my side is there and a lot smaller than I am.

“My impression of her was she was like your favourite grandma. We had such fun with her and she’s got a twinkle in her eye and a spark and she’s a very thoughtful lady and very kind. She elicits respect but also a lot of affection.”

It has been a long relationship between the Queen and Canada since she ascended to the throne in June 1953.

“It’s a very personal thing with Queen Elizabeth partly because of who she is and partly because she has been the Queen for so long. The only monarch who reigned longer over Canada was Louis XIV of France, who reigned 72 years. So she is a real institution,” Jackson said.

While the Queen remains in good health, there will come a time when the title of monarch will transfer to her eldest son, Prince Charles. While Queen Elizabeth holds a special place in people’s hearts, Jackson believes Charles could be a suitable replacement.

“Naturally it will be very different with Prince Charles; he automatically becomes king when the Queen dies and then his son, William, is his heir and then Prince George,” Jackson said. “The institution carries on whoever the person is embodying it at the time.

“But I think you’ve got to give Prince Charles a chance. He has been ahead of his time with so many things and a lot of things that matter to Canadians — Indigenous and racial relations, underprivileged youth, the environment, organic farming, heritage. All those kind of things, he was ahead of his time. I think he’s the kind of thing that will appeal to Canadians.”

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