Canada’s PM praises Queen as she holds first in-person audience since Covid bout

The Queen tested positive for coronavirus on February 20 and has spent the last two weeks carrying out only light duties.

07 March 2022

The Queen has been described as “insightful” as ever by Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau when asked to assess the monarch’s health.

The Canadian premier described his country and the UK’s head of state as “very interested in what’s going on” after meeting the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Mr Trudeau’s audience with the monarch was her first in-person event since she tested positive for Covid on February 20 and comes after the Queen’s autumn health scare which curtailed many of her public events in recent months.

Boris Johnson hosted a Downing Street press conference with his Canadian counterpart and Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, as he began a week of intense diplomacy to build a united front against Vladimir Putin’s regime following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau during a press conference at Downing Street (Alberto Pezzali/PA)

Speaking during the event, Mr Trudeau, 50, whose father Pierre Trudeau also served as Canada’s prime minister, was asked if the Queen was “fighting fit”.

He replied: “In regard to Her Majesty I have had the particular privilege of having known Her Majesty for about 45 years now and I can tell you that in my conversation with her this morning she was as insightful and perspicacious as ever.

“Very interested in what’s going on, asked me all sorts of questions about Canada and we had a really useful, for me anyway, conversation about global events as we always do.”

A photograph taken during the audience at Windsor featured a large bouquet of blue and yellow flowers, the colours of the Ukrainian flag, behind the Queen and Mr Trudeau.

Audience at Windsor Castle
Mr Trudeau shares a lighter moment with the Queen during their meeting (Steve Parsons/PA)

The gesture will be seen as a symbol of the Queen’s support for the people of Ukraine.

Canada’s prime minister also told the press conference they talked about the “situation we’re facing” thought to be a reference to the war in Ukraine and said he drew on “her long experience having seen much over these past decades”.

The Queen acceded to the throne in 1952, seven years after the end of the Second World War when Britain was still experience rationing and many of the nation’s cities bore the scars of bombing.

During her 70-year reign a number of conflicts have been waged from the Suez Crisis to the Falklands War and military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Queen tested positive for Covid on February 20 and has spent the last two weeks carrying out only light duties including a handful of virtual audiences.

Audiences at Buckingham Palace
The Queen pictured holding a virtual audience last week (Victoria Jones/PA)

Last Tuesday, the Prince of Wales said his mother was “a lot better now”, and the head of state was pictured holding her first virtual audiences since her coronavirus diagnosis.

The Queen has two high-profile events coming up, the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 14, and then the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service, also at the Abbey, on March 29.

The nation’s longest-reigning monarch, who reached her Platinum Jubilee milestone last month, recently spent more than three months resting, on doctors’ orders.

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