A speech by The Queen at the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Published

The Canadian Corps transformed Vimy Ridge from a symbol of despair into a source of inspiration.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In any national story there are moments and places, sometimes far from home, which in retrospect can be seen as fixed points about which the course of history turns, moments which distinguish that nation for ever. Those who seek the foundations of Canada's distinction would do well to begin here at Vimy.

Until this day ninety years ago, Vimy Ridge had been impregnable, a lesson learned at terrible cost to the armies of France and Britain. For the Allies, this ridge had become a symbol of futility and despair. It was against this forbidding challenge that the four Divisions of the Canadian Corps were brought together as a single army for the first time.

En l'espace de quelques heures, en ce matin froid et maussade du lundi de Pâques, les Canadiens devinrent maîtres de la crête, réussissant ce que nombreux avaient cru impossible. Leur victoire fut le fruit non seulement d'un ingénieux plan de bataille élaboré par les commandants canadiens, mais surtout du courage et de la détermination avec lesquelles les soldats canadiens exécutèrent leur mission.

No fewer than four Canadians were awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery during the battle, though it could easily be said that every soldier in the field demonstrated conspicuous bravery, such was the verve of the Canadian attack. It was a stunning victory. More, in capturing this formidable objective, the Canadian Corps transformed Vimy Ridge from a symbol of despair into a source of inspiration. After two and a half years of deadly stalemate, it now seemed possible that the Allies would prevail and peace might one day be restored.

Ici, en cette terre sacrée par le sacrifice de tant, nous commémorons leur courage et leur exploit. Leur victoire fit davantage que de donner l'espoir; elle permit au Canada, qui le méritait tant, d'occuper sa place sur la scène internationale à titre de fière nation souveraine, forte et libre. Le Monument commémoratif du Canada à Vimy témoigne de la grande force du Canada et de son attachement à la liberté. Il témoigne aussi de la profonde solidarité qui lie le Canada et la France. En dernier lieu, il témoigne surtout de la vaillance, du courage et du sacrifice des braves Canadiens qui ont inspiré un jeune pays à devenir une magnifique nation.

To their eternal remembrance, to Canada, to all who would serve the cause of freedom, and to those who have lost their lives in Afghanistan, I rededicate this magnificently restored memorial.

Related content

A message from The Queen to the Governor General and the people of Canada

I mourn with all Canadians at this tragic time.

07 September 2022

The Queen's message to mark Canada's first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

I join with all Canadians on this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

30 September 2021
Press release 06 July 2021

Announcement of a new Governor General of Canada

Read more
Feature

The Queen's Jubilees and other milestones

Find out more about how Her Majesty's reign has been celebrated at key moments.
Feature

A history of Jubilees

Royal Jubilees are an occasion to celebrate the life and reign of a Monarch.

The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message 2021

Stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory.

07 March 2021

A message from Her Majesty The Queen on the 75th anniversary of VJ day

May the memory of their sacrifice and bravery remain with us always.

15 August 2020
News

Commonwealth Day 2020

09 March 2020

The Queen's 2020 Commonwealth Day Message

Such a blend of traditions serves to make us stronger, individually and collectively, by providing the ingredients needed for social, political and economic resilience

09 March 2020
Feature

Remembrance 2019

Members of the Royal Family remember the war dead.

A speech by The Countess of Wessex celebrating the work of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust

On behalf of the people The Trust has helped thank you to each and every one of you for all your incredible support, and to Your Majesty thank you for choosing to give the...

29 October 2019
News

International Youth Day 2019

12 August 2019
Feature

The 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings

Members of the Royal Family will remember the sacrifices made during the Allied landings
Feature

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018

Find out more about Royal events at this year's meeting, which is being held in London
News

Commonwealth Day 2018

12 March 2018

The Queen's speech at the commissioning ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth embodies the best of British technology and innovation – a true flagship for the 21st century

11 December 2017

Prince Harry delivers a message from The Queen at RAF Honnington

The presentation of Colours is an opportunity to recognise historic achievements and to look forward to the future with confidence; a confidence built upon the dedication of...

19 July 2017
Press release 13 July 2017

Announcement of next Governor General of Canada

Read more

The Queen's speech at the Spanish State Banquet

This State Visit is an expression of the deep respect and friendship that describes relations between Spain and the United Kingdom

12 July 2017
News

The Spanish State Visit

12 July 2017

A Message from Her Majesty The Queen on the opening of the 2017 Commonwealth Science Conference

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Commonwealth Science Conference in Singapore following the success of the Bangalore Conference in 2014. I am very grateful...

13 June 2017

A message from The Queen on the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge (French)

Nous avons le devoir de nous souvenir et d’honorer Ia mémoire de ceux qui ont servi vaillamment et qui ont tant donné ici, sur la crete de Vimy, et tout au long de la Premiere...

09 April 2017

A message from The Queen on the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge

It is our duty to remember and honour those who served so valiantly and who gave so much here at Vimy Ridge and throughout the First World War.

09 April 2017

The Queen addresses The Royal Lancers at Windsor Castle

You have established yourselves as a unified Regiment and a force without match

05 April 2017

A message from The Queen to the people of Canada

I am delighted to offer all Canadians my best wishes and congratulations on the 150th anniversary of Confederation

01 January 2017

A message from The Queen to the people of Canada (written in French)

C’est un plaisir pour moi de transmettre mes meilleurs voeux et mes félicitations aux Canadiens et Canadiennes à l’occasion du 150e anniversaire de la Confédération

01 January 2017