Royal Visitors


[Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales on campus]
Prince Charles (with Chancellor Agnes Benidickson) and Diana, Princess of Wales (with Principal David C. Smith) on campus in 1991

Queen’s has been a frequent stopping place for royalty.

From the 1800s until the Second World War, the campus saw more than its fair share of British royals:

  • In 1879, Governor General the Marquess of Lorne and his wife Princess Louise visited the campus, laying the cornerstone of Theological Hall.
  • In 1901, the Duke of Cornwall and York (the future King George V) performed a similar cornerstone duty at Kingston Hall before receiving an honorary degree and praising Queen’s for “placing higher education within the reach of all”.
  • In 1919, George’s son Edward, the Prince of Wales, received an honorary degree in Grant Hall.
  • In 1939, George VI (who had succeeded Edward in the abdication crisis of 1936) arrived in Kingston on a sleek blue and silver royal train.

Queen Elizabeth II first visited Kingston as a princess in 1951. As Queen, she returned in 1959 to open the seaway; in 1967 for Canada’s centennial; in 1973 for Kingston’s tercentenary; in 1976 for Olympic sailing; and in 1984 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the coming of the Loyalists.

In 1991, Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, charmed the campus with a visit during Queen’s 150th anniversary year. Like his forebears, Prince Charles received an honorary degree, using his acceptance speech to applaud Canada’s cultural diversity.  

From 1978 to 1981, Prince Takamado Norihito, first cousin to Japan’s Emperor Akihito, studied law at Queen’s. A plaque on the lawn of Summerhill commemorates that royal connection.

[Queen Elizabeth II in Kingston]
Queen Elizabeth II in Kingston (photo by Wallace Berry)
[ The Princess and Prince Takamado Norihito with Flora MacDonald]
 The Princess and Prince Takamado Norihito with Flora MacDonald