Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did it again.
On one of the most solemn days in the United Kingdom in living memory, as Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest, Trudeau was making headlines in the U.K. such as this one in the Daily Mail:
“‘Drunk’ Canadian PM Trudeau is slammed as a ‘tone deaf embarrassment’ for singing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody at London hotel before Elizabeth II’s state funeral.”
And from the Telegraph:
“Justin Trudeau sings Bohemian Rhapsody in London hotel days before Queen’s funeral: Canadian prime minister criticized for being ‘disrespectful’ and failing to show ‘decorum’ as footage emerges of his Saturday night fun”
Now, there’s no evidence Trudeau was drunk, which the Daily Mail noted further down in the story. It was an unsubstantiated claim by someone on social media furious about Trudeau’s performance.
It all started with a 14-second clip, posted on Twitter, of Trudeau dressed casually in a mauve T-shirt, singing along to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in the lobby of the five-star Corinthia Hotel in London Saturday night, along with other members of the Canadian delegation.
They were accompanied on piano by Quebec musical artist, Gregory Charles, also an invited guest.
The clip, with the observation, “How do you say you were a drama teacher without saying you were a drama teacher” — which incorrectly identified the hotel as the Savoy — set off furious exchanges between supporters and detractors of the PM on social media.
One, quoted by the Daily Mail, sarcastically observed, “Trudeau sure seems to have a heavy heart as he fools around at a bar … I thought he was in mourning?”
Another fumed: “Curious as to how you can qualify this as paying tribute to the life and service of Her Majesty? Because they were singing music from Queen? That’s rather crass!”
Others slammed Trudeau as “an embarrassment,” “unbecoming,” “undignified,” his singing, “completely inappropriate given the circumstances and his position” especially since just days before he had described the Queen as, “one of my favourite people in the world.”]
Others described Trudeau as a narcissist.
The controversy also recalled previous Trudeau gaffes abroad, such as dressing in what many viewed as “Bollywood” attire during his 2018 India trip.
Trudeau’s supporters, however, leaped to the PM’s defence, some saying there was nothing wrong with the singing, others claiming the video was a fake or had been taken during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, even as the Prime Minister’s Office was confirming its authenticity.
“After dinner on Saturday, the Prime Minister joined a small gathering with members of the Canadian delegation, who have come together to pay tribute to the life and service of Her Majesty,” it said.
“Gregory Charles, a renowned musician from Quebec and Order of Canada recipient, played piano in the hotel lobby, which resulted in some members of the delegation, including the prime minister, joining.
“Over the past 10 days, the Prime Minister has taken part in various activities to pay his respects to the Queen and today, the entire delegation is taking part in the State Funeral.”
Charles, told the Globe and Mail: “Everyone sang with me for two hours. That was the feeling, that was a lot of fun.”
He said it reminded him of funerals in the Caribbean (his father is from Trinidad and Tobago) which blend sombre moments of respect with celebrating life and sharing stories.
Perhaps the Queen, known for her sense of humour, would have been amused by the controversy.