Michaëlle Jean has renounced her French citizenship in advance of her swearing-in ceremony tomorrow as Canada's next governor-general.
In a brief statement yesterday, Ms. Jean said the French government agreed to her request on Friday.
"In light of the responsibilities related to the function of Governor- General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, I have decided to renounce the French citizenship I acquired for family reasons in 2004," the release says.
The Haitian-born Ms. Jean is married to Quebec filmmaker Jean Daniel Lafond, who is originally from France.
The change would make Ms. Jean the third governor-general in a row who has made significant personal changes on the eve of taking office.
Departing Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson quietly married her partner, John Ralston Saul, about a month prior to her appointment six years ago. Roméo LeBlanc also wed his common-law partner, Diana Fowler, before moving in to Rideau Hall.
Senior members of the Canadian Legion had expressed concern that Ms. Jean would have two masters if she maintained her French citizenship. The organization's executive debated issuing a formal objection to the appointment over the citizenship issue and because she appeared in one of her husband's films toasting to independence with the former head of the Front de libération du Québec, a defunct hard-line separatist group.
But the Queen's decision to accept Prime Minister Paul Martin's choice led the Legion to drop its objections.
Apart from the reaction of some veterans, Ms. Jean's French citizenship was mostly met with a shrug.
John Aimers, president of the Monarchist League of Canada, had no objections to Ms. Jean maintaining her French citizenship.
"I think this is a further underlining by Madame Jean of the commitment she has now expressed several times to Canada," he said. He predicted Canadians would receive her decision favourably, even though he never saw a problem with the dual citizenship.
"Because of the controversy surrounding it, it was probably a timely step."
Conservative heritage critic Bev Oda praised the move for the same reasons, saying Ms. Jean is demonstrating her commitment to the job and a sensitivity to all Canadians.
Ms. Oda said she did not oppose Ms. Jean's dual citizenship because it is common in a country with a large number of recent immigrants.
"We have many, many Canadians today who do hold dual citizenship due to the nature of our country. . . . It doesn't make them less Canadian," she said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Clarkson will use her last day as the Queen's representative to plant a tree with her husband on the grounds of Rideau Hall. The tree-planting ceremony is a tradition that dates back to 1917, when the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire planted a pair of sugar maples.
Ms. Clarkson and Mr. Saul will each plant a swamp white oak, a rare tree that can grow up to 22 metres tall and live for 200 years.