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Yellowknife honours beloved Queen Mum

Flags fly at half-mast, condolence book available

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Apr 03/02) - Flags flew at half-mast as Yellowknifers paid their respects to Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

The beloved 101-year-old mother of Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully in her sleep Saturday, after a brief period of declining health.

Within hours of Buckingham Palace's announcement, flags were lowered to half-mast at all government buildings in Yellowknife.

The Queen Mother, as Queen Consort and the last Empress of India, and her husband, King George VI, were the first members of the royal family to visit Canada in 1939. Last year, to commemorate her 100th birthday, she was named an honourary companion of the Order of Canada.

Her attachment to Canada made her special, said Mildred Wilke.

As Founding Queen Mother of Divas of the North Chapter, Red Hat Society, Wilke said her royal counterpart, "had the authority of the Queen down pat, even if she was only there as the King's wife."

Wilke's mother and grandmother both talked about the Queen Mum's visits to Canada. Wilke never got to see the Queen Mother, but met her mother, Elizabeth II "on more than one occasion."

On Tuesday, at the request of Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, books of condolences were made available in several Canadian cities, including Yellowknife.

At the legislative assembly a trickle of people signed the condolence book.

"Such grace and courage. We are blessed to have had her leadership and example," read one entry.

"Her wisdom and courage will certainly be missed," read another.

In a written statement, Commissioner Glenna Hansen called the Queen Mother, "a true role model for the monarchy."

The condolence book will be available for signing until April 9. Messages can also be sent to the royal family via the Internet through the Government of Canada Web site at www.commemoration.gc.ca