Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid his respects to Queen Elizabeth on Saturday and met with King Charles and other prime ministers of the realm in a gathering at Buckingham Palace.
Mr. Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, attended the Queen’s lying-in-state with Canada’s High Commissioner to Britain, Ralph Goodale. Unlike the tens of thousands of people joining the eight-kilometre queue along the River Thames, Mr. Trudeau used a special VIP entrance to pay his respects to the Queen.
The Prime Minister arrived in London on Friday evening, one of hundreds of foreign leaders to descend on the capital for the Queen’s funeral on Monday.
The gathering at Buckingham Palace on Saturday afternoon with King Charles also included New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Mr. Goodale told reporters on Saturday that Mr. Trudeau will meet individually with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss, Mr. Albanese and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Sunday.
Prior to meeting with the realm’s prime ministers, King Charles hosted his governors-general for a reception and lunch at the palace. Canada’s Mary Simon attended the event, as did her counterparts from the Bahamas, Belize, and Antigua and Barbuda. Those three countries are all considering dropping King Charles as head of state.
Canada doesn’t have a comparable republican movement and Mr. Trudeau has been noted in the British press for his affinity to the late Queen.
“She was one of my favourite people in the world and I will miss her so,” Mr. Trudeau said when the Queen died on Sept. 8
Hundreds of thousands of people have descended upon London during the country’s 10 days of mourning for the late sovereign and the Prime Minister’s motorcade drove through throngs of people outside the palace. Mr. Goodale said the intensity of Mr. Trudeau’s personal reaction to the Queen dying was genuine and he and the King would have shared “memories about the connections that they have had with each other and with each other’s families over the course of the years.”
Mr. Trudeau first met the Queen as a boy, when his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was prime minister in the 1970s.
A 19-person delegation will represent Canada at the Queen’s state funeral in London on Monday morning. Mr. Trudeau and other prime ministers and governors-general of the realm will also join the Royal Family for a committal service at St George’s Chapel by Windsor Castle.
Also representing Canada are former prime ministers and governors-general, and members of the Order of Canada, including former Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury and actress Sandra Oh.
The leaders of the three groups representing Indigenous people in Canada – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Natan Obed, and president of the Métis National Council Cassidy Caron – are also in the delegation.
At a press conference on Saturday in London, Ms. Archibald said she wanted to remind people of the Queen’s human side as a mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
“I want to be respectful of the fact that he just lost his mother. And I just am not prepared to speak ill of anyone during their mourning period.”
Indigenous peoples have a unique relationship with the Crown, for example, through signed treaties, which are agreements laying out continuing rights and obligations.
Ms. Archibald met with then-Prince Charles when he visited Canada in May. She said then that she asked for an apology from the Crown for its failure to uphold its treaty obligations and for the treatment of Indigenous children at residential schools. Ms. Caron also said at the time that the Queen should apologize for the legacy of the institutions, which saw Indigenous children forcibly removed from their homes and culture.
She declined to comment about the status of that request. Once the mourning period and ceremonies of his accession are over, she said the AFN will ask to bring a delegation to London to meet with him and will also invite him to Canada.
She said she wants to work co-operatively with the new monarch on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for a royal proclamation on reconciliation.