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Justin Trudeau criticised for singing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in hotel lobby before Queen’s funeral

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed sing-along took place after dinner on Saturday night

Meredith Clark
New York
Monday 19 September 2022 19:18 BST
Canada’s Justin Trudeau pays his respects to Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Hall

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sparked criticism after he sang “Bohemian Rhapsody” in a hotel lobby Saturday night, just two days before Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

The prime minister, 50, was captured singing the hit song by Queen during his stay at The Corinthia Hotel in London over the weekend. In the footage, Trudeau is seen wearing a maroon T-shirt as he stood with his arms over the piano and belted out lyrics from the Freddie Mercury song.

“Because I’m easy come, easy go / Little high, little low,” he sang, as an audience gathered in the hotel lobby.

In the clip, Trudeau was also joined by members of the Canadian delegation to the funeral, including piano player Gregory Charles. According to the Daily Mail, the video was filmed after the delegation attended a dinner on Saturday night.

Footage of the impromptu performance was shared on social media on Sunday, where critics accused Trudeau of acting “inappropriate” during the United Kingdom’s 10-day mourning period.

“I actually love a good piano bar. Haven’t gone to one since before Covid, this reminds me I should check one out near me,” tweeted Toronto Sun journalist Brian Lilley. “PM at the Savoy in London last night singing a little Queen….for the Queen…”

One critic quickly followed up Lilley’s tweet and clarified that the video was actually taken at the Corinthia Hotel in London, where all the Canadian delegates were staying ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday.

“This is the Corinthia Hotel lobby,” said writer Keean Bexte. “I was there yesterday and ran into Trudeau’s Governor General ... This is where the Canadian delegation is staying. It isn’t a deep fake, but rather one of the most embarrassing Trudeau moments to date.”

Another critic tweeted: “It’s an unbecoming, undignified display and completely inappropriate given the circumstances and his position.”

“I don’t think the Brits are going to appreciate Trudeau partying on the eve of their beloved queen’s funeral,” said someone else. “What a disgrace.”

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed on Monday that Trudeau and a small group of the Canadian delegation did enjoy some piano in the Corinthia Hotel lobby on Saturday night. The spokesperson said in a statement: “After dinner on Saturday, Prime Minister joined a small gathering with members of the Canadian delegation, who have come together to pay tribute to the life and service of Her Majesty.”

“Gregory Charles, a renowned musician from Quebec and Order of Canada recipient, played piano in the hotel lobby which resulted in some members of the delegation including the prime minister joining,” they said. “Over the past 10 days, the Prime Minister has taken part in various activities to pay his respects for the Queen, and today, the entire delegation is taking part in the State Funeral.”

In an interview with Canada’s The Globe and Mail, which was published on Monday, Gregory Charles confirmed that he sat at the piano in the hotel lobby and entertained other members of the delegation, including Trudeau. He said that the moment reminded him of Caribbean funerals, where mourning is often mixed with celebrating a person’s life.

“Everyone sang with me for two hours. That was the feeling, that was a lot of fun,” he said.

Ahead of the dinner, the Canadian Prime Minister visited Westminster Hall on Saturday where he paid his respects to Queen Elizabeth II, whose coffin was lying in state inside the historic hall. Trudeau also met with Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, during his visit for the funeral.

On Monday, Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau led Canada’s delegation to the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey. To many peoples’ surprise, Killing Eve actress Sandra Oh was one of the delegations in attendance at the funeral.

Oh joined the delegation as a member of the Order of Canada alongside Charles and Olympic gold medallist swimmer Mark Tewksbury. The actor, who was born in Canada to Korean parents, was granted the honour in June 2022.

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