UK

Queen sends subtle message to Ukraine as she meets Justin Trudeau

The Queen has held her first in-person engagement since catching COVID, meeting Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

The monarch held an audience with Mr Trudeau at Windsor Castle today, as he is in the UK for talks on the war in Ukraine with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte.

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The Queen has held her first in-person engagement since catching COVID, meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Queen, 95, tested positive for coronavirus on 20 February, just days after Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall both contracted the virus.

The monarch, who is also Queen of Canada, was pictured in a patterned dress, standing and smiling warmly at Mr Trudeau as he held her right hand in both of his.

Mr Trudeau was also seen laughing as the Queen gestured towards herself during the meeting in the Oak Room sitting room.

The head of state was not pictured with the walking stick she has been using of late.

The Queen has a strong bond with Canada as the Commonwealth realm has been her most frequent overseas destination.

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She has visited more than 20 times, including a trip as a princess, but a number of years ago she called time on her official overseas visits.

Mr Trudeau met the Queen several times as a young child in the 1970s as his father, Pierre Trudeau, was one of Canada’s longest-serving prime ministers.

Understood to be triple vaccinated, the Queen is thought to have experienced mild cold-like symptoms.

Shortly before, Prince Charles also tested positive for COVID for a second time, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, was diagnosed with the virus.

Sky’s royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills said at the time that “a number of cases have been diagnosed within the Windsor Castle team”.

Last Tuesday, Charles said his mother was “a lot better now”, and the head of state was pictured holding her first virtual audiences since her diagnosis.

The Queen has two high-profile events coming up this month, including the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on 14 March, and then the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service, also at the Abbey, on 29 March.

She recently spent more than three months resting on doctors’ orders.

Last autumn she pulled out of attending the Cop26 climate change summit, the Festival of Remembrance and then the Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph service due to a sprained back.

She also missed the Church of England’s General Synod.

The Queen now regularly uses a walking stick and has been pictured looking frailer recently.

She remarked during a Windsor Castle audience last month: “Well, as you can see, I can’t move.”

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