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'Her presence touched entire generations': B.C. reaction to Queen Elizabeth II's death

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Officials and royal-watchers in British Columbia are looking back on the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II and the impact her presence had on Canadians.

The Queen, who was the longest-serving British Monarch and Canadian head of state, died Thursday at the age of 96, hours after Buckingham Palace announced she was under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle with her family by her side.

Premier John Horgan said in a statement the Queen "will be remembered for her full-hearted service to her people."

"The Queen held a special place in her heart for British Columbia. We were honoured to host the Queen seven times, six as reigning monarch. With each visit, the Queen brought British Columbians together in common purpose," Horgan said.

"Our thoughts are with all members of The Royal Family."

B.C. Lt-Gov. Janet Austin also released a statement after the Queen's death was announced.

"The long and steadfast reign of Her Majesty The Queen endured for seven decades. Her presence touched entire generations of Canadian families," Austin's statement said.

"The impact of the reign of Her Majesty cannot be understated; the passing of this Queen represents the end of an era defined by its longevity and her ceaseless service.

"On behalf of all British Columbians, I extend my great sympathies to The Royal Family." 

QUEEN'S IMPACT IN B.C.

Sarika Bose, a royal expert from the University of British Columbia, said on CTV Morning Live Thursday the fact immediate family rushed to Balmoral Castle in Scotland suggested the seriousness of the situation hours before her death was announced.

Bose explained there is an immediate process that would have been followed, including the family bowing to Prince Charles, kissing his hand and acknowledging him as King immediately.

"The prime minister of England will be one of the first to know the news," she said.

Other procedures would include the ringing of bells across the nation, Bose said, adding a funeral would eventually take place in Westminster Abbey.

"She has always been there for so many of us," Bose said, acknowledging that for many, the Queen is the only British monarch they've known in their lives.

"There's a think this sense there's always been this presence in many people's lives, whether you liked her or not, whether you agreed that the monarchy should exist or not, the reality is that she has been around for a very long time … she's part of the landscape of our lives, even at the very background of our lives for many of us."

QUEEN'S VISITS TO B.C.

The Queen last visited B.C. in 2002, as part of her Golden Jubilee to celebrate her 50th year as reigning monarch. 

She and Prince Philip toured Canada over 12 days and, as part of that trip, visited B.C.'s legislative assembly.

While there, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Window was unveiled in the Hall of Honour. It was designed to celebrate the occasion.

The official Opposition, the BC Liberals, described the Queen's warm presence during her visits.

“I was so honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to meet her two decades ago when she visited our province," a statement from Kevin Falcon said.

“The joy she took in participating in the ceremonial puck drop at GM Place alongside Wayne Gretzky in 2002 made an unforgettable and lasting impression on me."

The Queen also visited B.C. in 1994 for the Commonwealth Games in Victoria and went to the Canadian Forces Base in Comox and Prince George.

She visited the province numerous other times, including in 1987, 1983, 1971 and 1959.

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