Justin Trudeau meets the Queen and makes her laugh with self-deprecating joke

'It probably dismays a number of my former professors to see me a doctor now — even an honorary one,' says Canadian PM

Lucinda Cameron
Wednesday 05 July 2017 22:53
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has met the Queen while picking up an honorary degree in Edinburgh, and managed to make her majesty crack a rare smile while he was at it.

Mr Trudeau was awarded the degree of Doctor honoris causa by the University of Edinburgh in recognition of his commitment to equality and diversity. During his speech he praised Scotland for being a "strong partner" to Canada.

He later walked through the capital clutching his degree scroll before a private meeting with the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse set up to “honour her importance to Canada's history and to thank her for her continued dedication to Canada”, his office said.

To the Queen's amusement, Mr Trudeau was filmed saying: "I've been offered an honorary degree at the University of Edinburgh. It probably dismays a number of my former professors to see a doctor now — even an honorary [one]".

Mr Trudeau was visiting Scotland on his way to the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7 and 8.

He is the second Canadian Prime Minister to receive an honorary degree from the university after Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1902, who he described as his “second favourite Canadian Prime Minister”.

Accepting the honour, he said: “From the people of Canada to the people of Scotland, thank you for being a strong partner to us in this new global era of so many challenges.”

Mr Trudeau gave part of his speech in French and spoke of the links between the two countries.

He said: “Fifteen per cent of Canadians have Scottish roots, so Canadians, including me, have a strong link and affinity with Scots.”

He described the relationship between the two countries as “a relationship based on a shared past and culture, all the more so as we share a certain number of priorities and values”.

Mr Trudeau told graduates from the school of social and political science that things that are worth it are never easy as he urged them to be open to new challenges.

He said: “If it excites you a lot and scares you a little, then you should probably do it. Be bold, be brave, be open to the incredible opportunities in front of you.

“Class of 2017, we need you, the world needs you, so be the best version of yourselves and go make us all proud. Congratulations.”

Mr Trudeau previously met the Queen in London shortly after his election in 2015 and they also met when Mr Trudeau was a young boy and his father Pierre was Canada's PM.

On Tuesday, Mr Trudeau visited Ireland, accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and their young son Hadrien, where he met Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for the first time.

His office said his visit to Ireland and the UK will “serve to recognise the strong family ties, history and common purpose our countries share”.

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