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Queen Elizabeth IIState & Ceremonial

The Queen appoints a former astronaut as Canada’s new Governor General

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has announced that The Queen has appointed former astronaut, Julie Payette, as the country’s new Governor General.

Ms Payette will be officially installed into office in a ceremony scheduled to take place in the Autumn.

Speaking after the appointment was confirmed, the 53-year-old said: “This is a very great honour for me and my family, for my friends and my colleagues here around the country, on the planet and even a few outside the planet.”

Julie Payette was the first Canadian woman to board the International Space Station back in 1999, and she went on a second space flight in 2009.

As Governor General, Ms Payette will be Commander-in-Chief of Canada’s military, an area she already has experience in.

In 1996 she qualified as a military jet captain and took the helm in numerous CT-114 Tutor jets.

Ms Payette will become the 29th person to hold the position of Governor General of Canada and will be the fourth female to be the monarch’s representative.

Speaking of the appointment, Justin Trudeau said that she would make an “extraordinary” Governor General who will serve her country with dedication and inclusion, working for the cause of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people.

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said: “It’s a really exciting message, and of course her vast experience will show other young women that there are multiple opportunities for us.

“And I think just the fact that she’s had that diversity of experience is something that’s amazing as well.”

Ms Payette will serve in succession to former Governor General, His Excellency David Johnston, who has held the office since 2010.

Mr Johnston is expected to have a private audience with The Queen when he travels to the UK next week for Canada 150 celebrations. This will be the last time he will meet face-to-face with the 91-year-old Monarch while representing her in an official capacity.


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