OTTAWA — Hoping for insights from one of the world’s most adept public figures, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff met privately with the Queen on Friday as the royal couple took a break from their hectic visit to Canada.
The Queen requested the meeting. And although Ignatieff wasn’t sure why she asked, the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition said he jumped at the chance.
“You’re looking at the most experienced political figure in the world,” Ignatieff said shortly after his audience.
“Any time you get a chance to meet the Queen, you say ’yes’ right away.”
The Queen arrived first, in the large drawing room at Rideau Hall, wearing a light purple flowered dress.
She casually remarked she had noticed the night before that “the ground hogs were busy” in the gardens around the Governor General’s residence.
Ignatieff then arrived, thanking her for seeing him on her day off.
“I was very touched by that and appreciate it very much,” he said as the two sat down to their private meeting.
Ignatieff later said “she’s an absolute joy to meet” and that she “has a wonderful sense of the absurd.”
“You have to in her job, because she sees a lot of amusing things happen. What is astounding about her is how . . . that sense of the comedy of life has survived 60 years of gruelling public service.”
The Queen and Prince Philip were to depart Ottawa on Saturday for a whirlwind trip to Winnipeg before flying to Toronto to take in the Queen’s Plate.
One of the highlights of the visit came Thursday as the Queen addressed a crowd estimated at 100,000 during Canada Day celebrations.