Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s secret visit to a small BC island

A woman with red hair, wearing a white blouse, sits with her elbow on a makeup table in front of a mirror.
Singer Kim Paulley prepares to perform in Wagner's Flying Dutchman with Pacific Opera in Victoria. Image courtesy of Kim Paulley. Photo by George Sirk.
Greg Osoba - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 19-09-2022
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In August 1994, after opening the Commonwealth Games in Victoria BC, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were whisked away for few days rest. Most Canadians had no idea where the queen and prince had taken off to after the games.

However, the local citizenry of Cortes Island had a good idea. Rumors circulated that the royal couple would be spending time on adjacent Twin Islands, owned at that time by a German nephew of Prince Philip's, Maximilian Margrave of Baden. The reports had a reliable source: Cortes Islander Ginny Ellingsen, originally from northern England, had been hired to wait on the famous guests. Once the Commonwealth Games were underway, a seaplane arrived at the dock on Twin Island bearing the royal couple.

Professional Cortes naturalist George Sirk came up with a unique idea; all he had to do was persuade his classically trained singing wife Kim Paulley to play a central part. Paulley says it took some convincing, but she eventually agreed and the couple set off early one morning with a crew in a 12-person row boat and made their way to tiny Long Thom Island, near Twin Island. Paulley was to serenade Queen Elizabeth with a rendition of "God Save The Queen," hopefully within earshot of the monarch.

Paulley recounts the story to CKTZ News in the interview below: