Queen to Justin Trudeau: ‘Thank you for making me feel so old’

A tart response to a laudatory toast by the PM

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toasts in honor of Queen Elizabeth II after delivering his speech before a gala dinner during the CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Attard, Malta, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toasts in honor of Queen Elizabeth II  during the CHOGM Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Attard, Malta. (Alessandra Tarantino, AP photo)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the following toast at the dinner of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As the Commonwealth’s newest head of government, I am honoured to offer toast to Your Majesty, Head of the Commonwealth and Queen of Canada.

In so doing, I am deeply mindful of Your Majesty’s long and tireless service to the Commonwealth and its citizens.

As Head of the Commonwealth you embody our family of nations and the values expressed in the Charter collectively endorsed three years ago.

Your example of dedication and selfless service inspires as we strive to build our societies on the principles of respect, inclusiveness and dignity.

You were only nine years old when you carried out what was perhaps your first official duty on behalf of Canada — an appearance on a postage stamp. That was 1935.

From that moment to this, Your Majesty has been such a constant presence in the life of Canada that a modern history of our nation could be written entirely with vignettes from your life.

Here’s one: In 1951, Princess Elizabeth attends her first hockey game, in Montreal, at the legendary Montreal Forum.

And another: in 1959, Queen Elizabeth opens the St. Lawrence Seaway.

And another: In 1967, Queen Elizabeth cuts Canada’s centennial cake on Parliament Hill as Canadians sing Happy Birthday.

There are countless scenes like these to choose from. In a single tour in 1959, over 45 days, you visited 90 towns and cities.

It is safe to say that you have seen more of Canada than almost any Canadian. And always, Canadians have watched and admired their indefatigable queen, forming cherished memories.

Some of those memories are of formal state occasions. Some are more personal. And for a few, some are both.

One that I personally remember well from my childhood and indeed, treasure is this: It is 1982, again on Parliament Hill. Queen Elizabeth signs the Constitution Act, thus empowering Canada’s legal foundation, including our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

On that cool day in April, seated next to you, was my father.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau was your fourth Canadian prime minister.

I am your twelfth.

In 1947, you famously vowed that your whole life would be devoted to the service of the Commonwealth.

You more than honoured your vow. And for that, on behalf of all Canadians and indeed, of all of us citizens of the Commonwealth, I thank you.

I now ask you to rise, charge your glasses and join me in a toast to Her Majesty the Queen.

In response, the Queen gave a much shorter speech, with a dash of regal humour.

Prime Minister Muscat,,

As Head of the Commonwealth, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you all here this evening.

Thank you, Mr Prime Minister of Canada, for making me feel so old!

We are grateful to be with you for the second Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting hosted by Malta, and I hope that this occasion will allow you to gather as friends and enjoy Malta’s hospitality.

The week in pictures: 7 days, 15 photos

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