LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II marked Canada’s 150th birthday with a visit to Canada House in central London, where she was given a sapphire brooch Wednesday to celebrate her sapphire jubilee.
The queen was joined by her husband Prince Philip at the celebration, which drew tourists from nearby Trafalgar Square who gathered for a glimpse of the queen as she left in a chauffeur-driven Bentley flying the royal standard.
Elizabeth was given a sapphire brooch from the Canadian people to mark her 65 years on the throne. Dubbed the Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch, it is decorated with 48 sapphires from the only sapphire deposit ever found in Canada. The setting also contains a few diamonds.
The queen, in a white silk floral dress and blue hat, was already wearing a platinum maple leaf brooch chosen to honor Canada.
Governor General David Johnston used what is likely to be his final meeting with the queen before his term of office ends to thank Elizabeth for her “65 years as our sovereign.”
He praised the queen’s role in Canada’s national life.
The queen, escorted much of the time by High Commissioner to the UK Janice Charette, toured a collection of Canadian artifacts from the royal collection — including several with photographs of her presiding at important events.
Oliver Urquhart Irvine, royal librarian and assistant keeper of the Royal Archives, helped put the display together and helped show the queen around the exhibit.
He joked that it was somewhat odd to explain the historical artifacts to Elizabeth.
“She was there,” he said. “She knows the material better than I do.”
The queen met with a number of Canadians, including Dean and Dan Caten, the identical twin fashion designers behind the brand Dsquared2, and Cambridge University engineer turned astronaut Jenni Sidey.
It was the final public engagement before the queen begins an extensive summer holiday in Scotland.