Queen Elizabeth II, pictured above at a reception in the ballroom of Sandringham House in February, met the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, at Windsor Castle on Tuesday. Photo: Joe Giddens/Pool/AFP

The Queen has a soft spot for Canada.

Just over a week after hosting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his first face-to-face meeting since recovering from COVID-19, Her Majesty, 95, hosted Governor General of Canada Mary Simon, 74, on Tuesday. , at Windsor Castle.

Like her meeting with Trudeau, worries about the monarch’s health abounded before she hosted afternoon tea with Simon and her husband, Whit Fraser. Just a day before, the Queen had missed the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, with the palace citing concerns over her transport to and from the event.

The engagement marked her first face-to-face meeting with Simon, whom she met via Zoom before his installation as Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General – the Queen’s representative in the country – last July.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Canada's new Governor General
Queen Elizabeth II greets the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, and her husband, Whit Fraser, for tea in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle, March 15, 2022. Photo: Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images

“Our queen is such an inspiration in these trying times,” Simon said in a press release about the engagement. “And it was a privilege to share with her the Inuit concept of ajuinnatathat is, never give up, which guides my work as Governor General.

The Queen, meanwhile, knows a thing or two about engagement. In her Commonwealth Day message this week, she once again renewed her promise “that my life will always be devoted to service”.

“Today it is rewarding to observe a modern, vibrant and connected Commonwealth that combines a wealth of history and tradition with the great social, cultural and technological advances of our time,” she said of the 54 Commonwealth countries, which includes Canada. “Our family of nations continues to be a point of connection, cooperation and friendship.”

Of course, it should come as no surprise that the Queen has made room in her schedule for Canadian diplomatic visitors. If the Commonwealth is a family, Canada probably feels like a very close cousin. The Queen has made more than 20 official visits to the country and has even called it her “second home”.

Always in statement form with her jewelry, the Queen wore for the occasion a sapphire brooch donated by former Governor-General David Johnston in 2017 in honor of her 65th anniversary on the throne.

The Governor General’s visit to London also included a meeting with Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ralph Goodale, followed by a tree-planting ceremony to celebrate the Queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne.

Before her tea with Simon, the Queen held two virtual audiences at her Berkshire residence with the ambassadors of Mongolia and Tajikistan.

The Queen’s next scheduled engagement outside Windsor Castle is a service of thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, her 73-year-old husband who died last April aged 99, at the Westminster Abbey in London at the end of March.

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