Trudeau under fire for $6,000 hotel bill from Queen’s funeral following viral karaoke video
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau are facing criticism for booking a $6,000 (CAD) (£4,800) per night luxury central London hotel suite at taxpayers’ expense when they attended Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral last September.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) confirmed that it was the Trudeaus who had stayed in the Corinthia in Whitehall and used its pricey River Suite after Canadian media obtained documents relating to the C$400,000 (£238,000) trip through freedom of information requests in the autumn, CBC reports.
The cost of the Corinthia stay caught reporters’ attention but it was not immediately clear who among the Canadian delegation had used the suite, which offers views of the Thames and London Eye and has its own complimentary butler service and powder room.
With opposition politicians like Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre pursuing the matter and others demanding invoices from the trip, arguing that too much had been spent, the PMO confirmed it was the Trudeaus themselves who had used the room and that it had been booked for them on 9 September, the day after Her Majesty’s death, for a five-day stay from 15-20 September.
More than 500 heads of state and their staff descended on the British capital to attend the funeral of the late monarch at Westminster Abbey on 19 September, prompting hotel prices to soar for what proved to be a momentous occasion packed with pomp and ceremony in honour of her 70-year record of public service.
“The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a significant event for Canadians,” Mr Trudeau’s press secretary said in a written statement on Thursday.
“Canada was represented by former prime ministers and governors general to pay their respects to the monarch who oversaw almost half of Canada’s time as an independent country.”
The Queen was Canada’s head of state and Mr Trudeau designated the day of her funeral as a national day of mourning in her memory.
However, he has previously faced criticism over his conduct in London during the same visit after he was filmed singing Queen’s 1975 anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the Corinthia’s lobby in a clip widely shared on social media.
I actually love a good piano bar. Haven’t gone to one since before COVID, this reminds me I should check one out near me.
PM at the Savoy in London last night singing a little Queen….for the Queen… pic.twitter.com/yyCxIRAbJl
— Brian Lilley (@brianlilley) September 19, 2022
The PM can be seen in the short video wearing a maroon T-shirt and belting out the song accompanied by Canadian pianist Gregory Charles.
Mr Charles subsequently told The Globe and Mail that Mr Trudeau’s group had sung with him for two hours and that the evening had been “a lot of fun” but some commentators accused the PM of lacking respect.
On Twitter, the episode was denounced variously as “embarrassing”, a “disgrace” and “an unbecoming, undignified display and completely inappropriate given the circumstances and his position”.
A spokesman explained at the time: “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.
“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.”