PM hails ‘one of my favourite people in the world’ but death set to prompt questions about institution whose popularity is in decline.

Justin Trudeau has expressed his condolences over the death of Queen Elizabeth II, telling reporters that that monarch, who was also Canada’s head of state, was “one of my favourite people in the world”.

“In a complicated world, her steady grace and resolve brought comfort and strength to us all. Canada is in mourning,” said Trudeau, who first met the Queen as a child when his father Pierre was prime minister.

After Buckingham Palace announced the Queen had died at 96, tributes poured in from Canadian officials.

But her death is also likely to prompt fresh questions over the role of the monarchy in today’s Canada, where support for the institution has dropped steadily in recent years.

“Canadians across the country will mourn the loss of the Queen. Let us take a moment to honour Her Majesty’s memory in each of our own ways,” said Mary Simon, the governor general, who represents the monarch in Canada.

“When I was growing up, my grandmother revered the Queen as did many in the Arctic. She would tell her stories about Her Majesty, about her role and her commitment,” Simon said in a later statement, alluding to her early life in the Canadian north.

As the first ever Indigenous governor general, Simon has often reflected on the monarchy’s role in Canada, its complicated relationship with colonialism – and the legacy that still holds for Indigenous communities today.

Political leaders who have previously criticized the monarchy drew a sharp distinction for the late monarch, praising Elizabeth for her life of public service.

Justin Trudeau speaks after the Queen’s death on Thursday. Photograph: Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters

“Queen Elizabeth II lived a life of history and duty. She was also a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother,” the New Democratic party leader, Jagmeet Singh, wrote in a statement. “My thoughts today are for her family who have lost a pillar of strength in their lives.”

“Queen Elizabeth II lived a life of history and duty. She was also a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother,” the New Democratic party leader, Jagmeet Singh, wrote in a statement. “My thoughts today are for her family who have lost a pillar of strength in their lives.”

In a citizenship swearing-in ceremony where new Canadians, up until hours ago, were required to swear allegiance to the Queen, the judge overseeing the event told attendees “the monarch is now King Charles III, King of Canada”.

While the death of Elizabeth II will require a number of bureaucratic changes, it is also likely to renew scrutiny of the monarchy as a whole.

Precipitated in part by the tumultuous exit of Canada’s governor general last year, recent polls found Canadians questioning the need for a constitutional monarchy. More than half of respondents believe the royal family is no longer relevant.

A royal as head of state for Canada is constitutionally entrenched, and any changes to the status quo would require constitutional changes assented to by the provinces.

Source : The Guardian

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