le Lundi 26 septembre 2022
le Mercredi 14 septembre 2022 17:50 Tribune-Express (Hawkesbury)

Don Boudria pays tribute to the Queen

Don Boudria (left) as a young MP, with then-prime minister Jean Chrétien, meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. It was one of several face-to-face encounters that Boudria would have with the queen during his 21 years in federal government.  — photo Don Boudria Facebook gallery
Don Boudria (left) as a young MP, with then-prime minister Jean Chrétien, meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. It was one of several face-to-face encounters that Boudria would have with the queen during his 21 years in federal government.
photo Don Boudria Facebook gallery
Don Boudria will always remember Queen Elizabeth II as a very warm and friendly person.

The former Liberal MP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell had several encounters with the late Queen Elizabeth II during his 21 years on Parliament Hill. That included both the years when he sat as an MP and when he served as a cabinet minister under former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

« The first thing you need to know is that she was not a complicated person, » said Boudria, during a phone interview September 10. « She was pleasantly informal. »

Boudria chuckled as he recall several instances where the late queen ignored all the protocols set out by the entourage of royal advisors and chaperones that accompanied her on formal occasions, such as meetings with leaders or political representatives for Commonwealth countries and other nations. He recalled the first time he was scheduled to meet face to face with Queen Elizabeth. Her entourage had given him strict instructions on how to behave in the presence of the queen and also what he was allowed and not allowed to do.

One of the « forbidden acts » involved any sort of physical contact such as shaking hands or hugging. The queen herself ignored that rule during Boudria’s very first meeting with her.

« The first thing shed id was to stick our her hand to shake hands with you, » he said, laughing.

Boudria also recalled several instances of the consternation that the queen could sometimes cause for her entourage, including the security detail, when she was out in public for an informal Royal Tour occasion.

« If there was a little girl with a flower, she would make a beeline to the little girl who wanted to present her with a flower, » Boudria said, chuckling.

During his 21 years in federal politics, Boudria met with Queen Elizabeth II more than half a dozen times. The first time was in England on Commonwealth Day, the second Monday in March. Boudria was attending a parliamentary training session and the queen was present that day for meet-and-greets with all of the visiting parliamentarians from the Commonwealth countries.

« She was very pleasant to all of us, » Boudria said. « It was quite something. »

Other later occasions when Boudria met with the queen included the 2002 Royal Visit to Canada when he and his wife, Maryann, were constant companions for the Royal couple during their two-day stay at the Château Laurier in Ottawa. Boudria recalled that Prince Phillip « was always joking around and coming up with one-liners. »

Boudria has had time to reflect on his past encounters and dealings with the late queen after hearing of her death on September 8.

« I have fond, fond memories of her, » he said. « She has passed on, but the memories are still there. Her legacy, to us, was stability. We had her as our queen for so many years. »

Boudria had an immediate answer regarding the greatest character asset of Queen Elizabeth II.

« Her dedication, » he said, recalling the promise she made the people of the Commonwealth when she was crowned queen in 1952, « to be a faithful servant of the Realm » all the days of her life.

« Boy, did she ever deliver, » said Boudria. »