TORONTO, JULY 1 -- Queen Elizabeth II, who as the head of Canada's constitutional monarchy is a reminder to many French Canadians of their cultural alienation, was snubbed by local officials today when she made a brief visit to the Quebec city of Hull at the end of her five-day royal tour of the troubled dominion.
The queen's appearance, part of a special celebration marking Canada Day, was further dampened by about 500 supporters of the separatist Parti Quebecois, some of them wrapped in the fleur-de-lis provincial flag, who staged a vocal but orderly demonstration outside the Jacques Cartier Park in Hull, a city of 65,000 located just across the Ottawa River from the capital of Ottawa.
Because of rising nationalism in Quebec following the collapse of constitutional amendments designed to keep Quebec in the confederation, there were doubts that the queen would even make the visit to a children's festival to celebrate 123 years of Canadian independence.
Hull Mayor Michel Legere said it was "inappropriate" for the monarch to visit at a time when most Quebecois feel rejected by English Canada because of the refusal of two English-speaking provinces -- Newfoundland and Manitoba -- to ratify constitutional amendments that would have accorded Quebec special status as a "distinct society."
Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, who was to have joined the queen on the tour, did not make an appearance either.
Quebec City, the province's capital, and several other cities in Quebec canceled Canada Day celebrations because of the June 23 collapse of the constitutional amendments, known as the Meech Lake Accord.
The queen appeared to take no notice as protesters in Hull waved placards declaring "Quebec is our real country" and competed with federalist demonstrators, who waved Canadian maple leaf flags and cheered the royal party.
A heavy contingent of Royal Canadian Mounted Police kept the protesters behind barricades and there were no incidents like those 25 years ago in Quebec City, when crowds jeered the queen and were dispersed by baton-wielding police in what became known as the "Day of the Truncheons."
In Ottawa, however, where the monarch gave a speech to 25,000 people gathered on Parliament Hill, there were all the trappings of royal pomp and ceremony cherished by a dwindling number of Canadian monarchists, including honor guards in scarlet tunics, two 21-gun salutes, several renditions of "God Save the Queen" and a horse-drawn carriage in which the queen was driven to a state luncheon.
There were also game attempts by the government to present a facade of a unified country, including Quebec folk dancers and a bilingual unity song, written for the occasion in a national contest and titled "We Can Reach for the Sky Together."
In her speech the queen repeatedly referred to the strains on Canadian unity, departing from a royal tradition of not dwelling on domestic politics during official visits. The queen acknowledged a "sense of anxiety about Canada's future" and spoke of a united Canada "which I trust I shall see in future years when I come again.
"I'm not just a fair weather friend, and I'm glad to be here at this sensitive time. ... The unity of the Canadian people and their will to live together will be tested in the months ahead," she added.
The queen's nationally televised visit to Ottawa today was originally timed to coincide with what were to have been celebrations over the signing of the Meech Lake Accord and a renewal of Canadian unity.
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, declaring that the British crown "represents continuity and strength," said, "Evolution has not been untroubled and our unity has occasionally been challenged, as it is today." But he promised that Canada would resist breaking up and added, "We shall succeed."