Throughout its long history, Kingston has played host to royalty at least nineteen times. For the reigning monarch, the festivities were citywide and planned well in advance. Local dignitaries were always available to welcome minor royalty, but far less fanfare and festivity accompanied them.
Shown here is the Arch of Welcome to Portsmouth on King Street at the Penitentiary, erected in 1879 in honour of the visit of the Governor-General the Marquis of Lorne and his wife Princess Louise.
The list of royal visitors to Kingston include:
- John Campbell, Marquis of Lorne and Duke of Argyll and Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, 1878 - The viceregal couple visited Royal Military College and presented awards to prize-winning cadets. They also laid a corner stone at Queen's University.
- Prince George, Duke of Cornwall and York (later George V) and Mary, Duchess of Cornwall and York, 17 October 1901
- Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, Princess Louise, Duchess of Connaught, and Princess Patricia, between 1906-1912
- Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), 25 October 1919
- King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, 21 May 1939 - They visited Kingston as one of many visits and whistle stops in a cross-country tour to meet subjects and bolster spirits in the face of looming war in Europe.
- Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone and Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, October 1941 - Princess Alice received an honorary degree from Queen’s during this visit.
- Alastair Windsor, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, between 1940-1943
- Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (later Elizabeth II) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1951 - In Kingston to review the Royal Military College of Canada cadets on parade.
- Mary, Princess Royal, 7 October 1955
- Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1959 - Visited Kingston along the way to preside over the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
- Mary, Princess Royal, 1962
- Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1967 - Visit in celebration of the Centennial of Canada.
- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1969
- Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1973 - Visit in celebration of the Tercentenary of Kingston.
- Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1976 - Visited on the occasion of the Olympic Games.
- Anne, Princess Royal, 1979
- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1980
- Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1984 - Visited Kingston as one stop in celebration of the bicentennial of Ontario.
- Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, 1991 - Presented a replica of Queen Victoria's Royal Charter to Queen's University, on the 150th anniversary of the university's 1841 founding. Prince Charles also received an honorary degree from Queen's.
- Anne, Princess Royal, 2003
- Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, 2008
Kingston has always held an affinity for the British monarchy - after all, this is the "King's town"! Just how much admiration this city holds for royal visitors is well-represented in Mayor Newman's address on the occasion of the visit of Edward, Prince of Wales on 25 October 1919.
These flattering words did not go unnoticed. Proper etiquette undoubtedly dictated a response to such praise, but Prince Edward truly appeared to have been flattered as seen in his letter below.
Kingston Miscellaneous Collection
Reply to the address of the City of Kingston, 25 October 1919
Location 2285, Box 4, File 1