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B.C. woman’s birthday song for Queen Elizabeth becomes memorial video, 4 years later

Donna Hanson received 2018 letter saying queen ‘deeply moved’ by her song, the first she ever wrote
Screenshot of the video for Donna Hanson’s song “Devoted Heart, A Song for My Queen, Elizabeth,” on

A Surrey woman’s birthday song for Queen Elizabeth II has become a requiem with even more meaning, now that she’s passed.

Four years ago, Donna Hanson wrote and recorded “Devoted Heart, A Song for My Queen, Elizabeth” in celebration of her 92nd birthday.

The song was sent to Her Majesty through the office of Governor General of Canada, and Hanson later received a note on Buckingham Palace letterhead saying Elizabeth was “deeply moved” and “very touched by the warm sentiments expressed” in her song.

Posted to YouTube in 2018, a video that features a slideshow of photos of the queen is now being viewed by an increasing number of people. “When I look at the analytics, we’ve seen a big spike over the past few days,” Hanson said Friday (Sept. 16).


Donna Hanson in 2018 with a letter from the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting, in response to a song she wrote and recorded for the queen’s birthday. (Submitted photo)
Donna Hanson in 2018 with a letter from the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting, in response to a song she wrote and recorded for the queen’s birthday. (Submitted photo)

Hanson feels that her song is now even more relevant, “because people are saying the exact same things on the TV and radio, and people are expressing what is communicated in the song,” she said.

“I just hope the song gets out there more and is heard by more people — not for my sake, but for hers.”

Elizabeth died Sept. 8 at age 96 at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland. Her funeral is planned for Monday, Sept. 19.

Now retired from a job with the Ministry of Labour, Hanson says Queen Elizabeth II has always been a part of her life. Growing up in North Delta, “her beautiful portraits graced the (school) walls and gave me a sense of stability, respect, and honour for my country and my country’s relationship with England,” Hanson posted to YouTube.

In April 2018 Hanson’s song was recorded with The Lady Larks vocal group at the home of one of the singers, with musical direction from Karen Lee-Morlang. “This is the only song I have written,” Hanson notes.

Her inspiration came while listening to a song by Michael Bublé (“Close Your Eyes”) while walking in Bear Creek Park, not far from her home. “There were phrases which talk about the strength of a woman,” Hanson recalled at the time, in Melanie Minty’s arts column.

• READ MORE: Queen Elizabeth ‘deeply moved’ by Surrey woman’s birthday song.

Posted below are the lyrics of “Devoted Heart, A Song for My Queen, Elizabeth”:

You graced the hallways of my life

From the time when I was small.

You lived within my history

And raised the standard for us all.

Your task was handed down to you

Destiny made clear your fate

And you’ve been true unwavering,

A path you didn’t choose to take.


Beauty is deeper

Grace comes from within

When you do well

With what you’ve been given.

You made it count

Right from the start

Your crowning jewel is your devoted heart.

Sometimes when we’re not very sure

And our world seems so fragile

Your presence gives stability

With your warm, familiar smile.

Good people leave a legacy

Like the beauty in a pearl.

You always will remain a gem

Within the crown of my own world.

And we want to thank you, for your devoted heart

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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