The Queen’s final visit to Edmonton took place in May 2005 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alberta entering into Confederation. Much like her stay in 1978, the Queen would appear in Edmonton over multiple days to participate in a range of activities throughout the city. Edmontonians fondly remember the Queen’s final visit as her most intimate and accessible appearance in the city.
On May 23, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrived on the tarmac of Edmonton’s City Centre Airport — the date conveniently falling on Victoria Day, a federal holiday recognizing the Queen’s great-great grandmother and Canada’s first head of state, Queen Victoria.
The royal couple immediately made their way to Commonwealth Stadium and to a crowd of 25,000 rain-soaked Edmontonians upon arrival. Although 50,000 free tickets to the event were claimed, only half of the ticket holders would attend due to heavy rain. After a formal welcome to the province from Premier Ralph Klein, the royal couple departed Commonwealth Stadium and made their way to Hotel Macdonald and to another crowd of drenched spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen.
The following morning, Prince Philip travelled to Fort McMurray for a tour of the oil sands, a first for a member of the royal family, while Queen Elizabeth II remained in Edmonton for several royal appearances. The first visit would be to the Provincial Museum of Alberta, which was formally renamed to the Royal Alberta Museum in honour of the occasion. The day prior, Highway 2, which links Edmonton and Calgary, was renamed the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Highway in commemoration of the Queen’s visit for Alberta’s centennial.
Queen Elizabeth II then made her way to the Alberta Legislature to address the Legislative Assembly — a first in Alberta’s history. After the conclusion of the speech, the Queen exited the Legislature and completed a royal walkabout at the south entrance to meet well-wishing Edmontonians and Albertans.
On the Queen’s final day in Edmonton, she and Prince Philip attended a celebration at City Hall’s Churchill Square hosted by Mayor Stephen Mandel. The royal couple would then complete a rare, twenty-minute-long walkabout through the crowd to meet many of the bystanding Edmontonians. A public interaction of this length was considered a very special occurrence in comparison to the Queen’s usual, and typically brief, public appearances.
The royal couple would then depart Edmonton for an afternoon and evening in Calgary before returning home to the United Kingdom. This would mark the last visit to Alberta for both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.