Prince Edward Island officials extend ‘sobriety and respect’ protocols until Queen’s funeral

Don’t expect much news from the government of Prince Edward Island this week, unless it concerns the aftermath of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The British monarch died Thursday at the age of 96, after 70 years on the throne.

According to Prince Edward Island protocols, there was a three-day period after his death during which the province could not make any announcement regarding anything unrelated to his death.

Although that period is now over, the province still limits official announcements and media interviews until after the Queen’s funeral on the morning of September 19.

« I think we all want to maintain an air of sobriety and respect for Her Majesty, » said Debbie Atkinson, the province’s chief protocol officer.

« It’s a big deal. It’s definitely a big deal in my world, and in the thoughts and minds of a lot of Canadians, so we want to be respectful of everything we’re doing right now. »

Debbie Atkinson, the province’s chief protocol officer, says it’s important to be respectful during the time of mourning. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

For example, the province had planned to provide an update Monday on how it would handle the homeless encampment near Holland College in Charlottetown.

Instead, he sent this statement: « The Province is following the lead of the Government of Canada regarding the disappearance of the Sovereign. Out of respect, the Government of Prince Edward Island is limiting events, announcements and social media activity during the period of mourning. »

Flags down, 21-gun salute

The protocol also called on the government of Prince Edward Island to lower all of its flags at half-mast on Thursday following confirmation of the Queen’s death.

On Monday, there was a 21-gun salute in Charlottetown’s Victoria Park after the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island officially proclaimed the accession of Elizabeth II’s son, Charles III, to the rank of King of Canada.

Atkinson said the protocols for this moment in history have been in the works for years.

« I’ve been in this role for two years and that’s been a big part of what I’ve done. We have planned, after learning of the Queen’s death, exactly what will happen from when she passes on until ‘at the end of the mourning period.’

Prior to the Queen’s funeral on September 19, Islanders will be able to sign condolence books at one of six locations: Government House, the Legislative Assembly and the provincial libraries of Souris, Montague, Summerside and Tignish. For those unable to sign in person, an online condolence book is also available.

Some other Commonwealth countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, have already announced they will adopt federal public holidays on September 19.

It is unclear whether Canada will follow suit with a federally declared holiday, or Prince Edward Island with a provincial holiday.


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