Royalty traditionally holds the Colonel-in-Chief appointment and this individual acts as a patron. The first Colonel-in-Chief chosen for a Canadian unit may have been the Duchess of Connaught for the 199th Battalion in April 1917. The Colonel-in-Chief is our Royal patron. The Colonel-in-Chief is kept informed of all important activities and pay occasional visits to its operational units.
The appointment of Colonel-in-Chief helps maintain a direct link between the CME and the Royal Family. King George V, Edward VIII (albeit briefly), and George VI have all served as previous colonels-in-chief of the Royal Canadian Engineers. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was graciously pleased on coronation in 1953 to assume the appointment of Colonel-in-Chief of The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers. (Extra issue Canada Gazette Number 7, dated 1 June 1953.)
Queen Elizabeth held this appointment until the disbanding of the RCE on 1 February 1968. She accepted the new appointment of Colonel-in-Chief of the CME on 11 June 1977, her Silver Jubilee. This was a particular honour since it was the only appointment accepted on that occasion.