Over the past century, the Calgary Stampede has hosted a number of royal visitors. Here are some of the highlights…
1912: Duke and Duchess of Connaught
Their Royal Highnesses Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (Canada’s Governor General) and Princess Louise Margaret visited the 1912 Calgary Stampede. A special Welcome Arch was built in downtown Calgary to welcome them.
1923: Prince of Wales
Edward, Prince of Wales purchased a ranch in Pekisko, Alberta in 1919 following a post-war tour. In the summer of 1923 he came to Alberta for a holiday and presented a special Prince of Wales trophy to the 1923 bronc riding champion, Pete Vandermeer. Original plans included a special one-day Stampede at the Calgary Exhibition grounds, but a semi-private ceremony was held instead at the Prince’s E.P. Ranch in late September. The ceremony was attended by some of the Prince’s ranching neighbours, Directors of the Exhibition Board, and representative cowboys.
1939: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
The King and Queen visited the Calgary Stampede on May 26, 1939 as part of their Royal tour across Canada.
1951: Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh
On October 18, 1951, the Calgary Stampede staged an authentic Stampede program for the royal couple who was touring Calgary. A couple dozen of the best bucking horse riders, calf ropers, steer decorators and chuckwagon drivers in the country were brought in for an exciting full dress Stampede. A barbeque luncheon was prepared in the Corral for the royal couple and about 2,000 people.
1959: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
In 1959 the Calgary Stampede was again honoured by the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The royal couple stopped for a short rest at Fort Calgary House and made a tour of Indian Village, then watched an evening of chuckwagon racing in glorious summer weather, from a specially constructed dais on the grandstand stage.
1968: Duke and Duchess of Kent
Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Kent kindly accepted the Stampede’s invitation to visit Alberta and the Stampede in 1968. His Royal Highness officially opened the Stampede on the evening of July 4th, and on Monday morning both of them rode horses in the Stampede Parade. The gracious couple was warmly received.
1973: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
The Queen visited the Calgary Stampede for her third time in 1973. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Stampede and his Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was an honoured guest.
1977: Prince Charles and Prince Andrew
The 1977 Stampede honoured Alberta First Nations on the hundredth anniversary of the signing of Treaty Seven. Prince Charles and Prince Andrew came out to visit local First Nations. His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales led the Parade as the Parade Grand Marshal, and officially opened the Stampede.
2005: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
In 2005 Premier Ralph Klein hosted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, along with His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and 600 special guests, at a luncheon in May. The luncheon was held at the Calgary Stampede.
– Aimee Benoit, Archivist