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Les Stroud meets the Queen of England

Normally, when images of Les come to mind, they tend to be pretty rugged: Les covered in dirt, dripping in sweat (though trying not to, you know, that whole “you sweat you die” factor) scrounging for food, felling trees for shelter, battling the elements to prove to himself and the world that survival ain’t pretty, not easy, and certainly isn’t served in 3 courses on gold-trimmed plates. But on Monday, July 5th, a tuxedo-clad Stroud stepped out of the wilderness and into the front lobby of the Fairmont Royal York, ready to meet the Queen.

For Canadians, meeting the Queen is and always has been a big deal.  Canadian Royal Tours have been taking place since 1786. By 1951, the tours were received with such hysteria the National Film Board of Canada made a documentary chronicling the five-week tour by then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinborough, called Royal Journey.  Watch it for free here:

Canadian culture is built upon loyalist values, and the Queen’s 2010 whirl-wind nine day Royal Tour proved sentiment for the monarchy is still alive and well in Canada today.  Throngs of monarch supporters came out to see the Queen on her “royal walk-about” outside St. James Church in Toronto. Surrounded by a thick circle of security, as a spectator the most you can hope for is a glimpse of a hand-wave.  But you’ve got to give the queen credit:  for an 87 year old, she is doing very, very well. She works 347 days of the year, has reportedly mastered the Blackberry managing an endless series of parades, processions, speaking engagements and dinners around the world. Mmm… yummy, fancy dinners…which brings us back to Les.

The Official Dinner of the Royal Tour was a who’s who of Canadian parliament, business and entertainment. To attend, you had to receive an official invitation from Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself – and then adhere to the strict Rules of Protocol for meeting royalty. Oh, the many Rules of Protocol:  the Queen should be addressed as “Your Majesty” initially, and “Ma’am” as conversation continues. The Duke of Edinburgh should both be addressed as “Your Royal Highness” initially and “Sir” should the conversation really get going. It’s up to those meeting The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to choose whether or not they wish to bow and curtsy or simply shake hands. According to the guidelines, “It is quite in order to shake hands if the opportunity presents itself and a member of the Royal Family offers to do so.”

Well, Stroud isn’t really the type to curtsy, so when the Queen extended her hand, he took it.  A couple of shakes and the procession moved on. History in the making: Stroud is now part of an elite club of Canadian stars to have shaken the gloved hand of the queen, herself. After dinner, Prime Minister Harper and his wife invited Stroud up to a private gallery for relaxed conversation and drinks.

It isn’t saving the world or surviving in brutal conditions, but it is a rare opportunity to touch a living legend of the 21st century, and an honour to be asked to do so. Les Stroud, Canadian icon, on hand-shaking terms with the Queen of England. Now that’s survival.

By Kate Heming
  • Sharon on July 12, 2010

    What a great honor for you to meet the Queen and then have drinks with the Prime Minister. Awesome Les♥
    Keep up the great work and Stay Safe Babe :)

  • Diann on July 12, 2010

    That certainly Is survival. I am So Happy for you Les! The whole evening must have been just wonderful! I can only imagine… I saw pictures on the internet that were taken when the Queen visited. She is so elegant, confident, and refined. What a great honour it would be to spend any time at all in her presence. From what I read, she is a warm and caring person, and she must be very patient, as I’m sure she has many rules she is expected to follow to carry out her duties, and there just must be times when she must wish she could just relax and not have to worry about protocol. I hope she is able to find those times every once in a while. I also read later that she is going to be a Great Grandmother. She must be very happy about that.
    Love and Blessings Les
    You’re just wonderful!

  • Kim on July 13, 2010

    Let, it’s wonderful that you got to meet the Queen, what an honor and a thrill that must have been, and the prime minister too, wow! Now, how about a picture of you in the tuxedo – I’d really like to see that, I’m sure you looked great!

    Take care, thanks for all that you do!

  • Terry M on July 13, 2010

    That is great Les….you should have said to her… Wow!.. this is the same room that MIA has their reunion in…. you should be honored! :)

  • Alan Conditt on July 13, 2010

    Looks like you have the record for eating the lowest, worst food, while in the bush, to eating some of the finest. Congrats!

    It’s really hard to find a TV program worth watching. You have provided the best programs we’ve ever seen to promote self reliance, while filming it all yourself. Keep up the good work! We love you here in the States.

    Alan from Oklahoma

  • Ruth on July 13, 2010

    What an honor, Les. I want to see a picture of you in the tux, though.

  • Rob on July 13, 2010

    Wow, the Queen is reading a giant dinner menu aloud?

    Kidding aside, congrats Les on a great honor (honour)!

  • Ellen on July 13, 2010

    I’ll be she secretly kicks back and watches Survivorman to unwind after a hard day of being queen :-)

  • Marshall on July 13, 2010

    Congratulations on the honor of meeting the Queen, Les. I was hoping the end of the blog post would say that you got Knighted. Sir Les Stroud, has a nice ring to it?

  • Ken on July 13, 2010

    It must have been quite an honor for the queen to meet Les! I’d rather hang out with Les than the Queen!!!

  • Geoff on July 13, 2010

    Very Cool Les!
    I hope that they didn’t make you catch your own dinner this time!

  • Ria on July 13, 2010

    What an incredible honor Les! See, even the royalty know what a shining star you are!
    Congratulations, you’ve made it! :)

  • betty paulsen on July 13, 2010

    Hi Les,
    What an honor for you to meet the Queen and for her to meet you.I had the pleasure of meeting you and that was awsome for me.
    be safe Betty

  • Wendy on July 13, 2010

    Well done Les. Glad you chose the hand shake. I’m not into bowing to any other human and I don’t see royalty as anything but humans playing dress up. But I do commend you for invite and I’ve considered you a Canadian icon for years. I’m proud of all that you are doing but being in America, it can be difficult to see everything that you put to video. Maybe I should just move to Canada so I can see more of Les. LOL! Just teasing. Keep on being you and doing those cool things you do.
    Peace and many blessings to you and your family,
    Wendy from FL. US

  • kim linsley on July 13, 2010

    wow thats wonderful she is very elegant and to have drinks with the pm great.

  • Jim Blake on July 14, 2010

    Les – known you many moons now, and always admired your talents – keep up the great work and the great TV – congrats on meeting the Queen – what an honour – I met Prince Phillip years ago when I was in broadcasting in Kingston area, and he attended a skating event I was MC’ing – we had a chance to talk after – very approachable, and easy to talk with – great experience, but yours – that was the chart topper – all the best
    to you and family


    still looking for a copy of Snowshoes and solitudes – I lost my souvenir copy from you

  • karen fink on July 14, 2010

    Congrats on meeting the Queen.I love your survival man
    show,wish you would do more.seems you know all when it comes
    to being lost.Hope to meet you some day,it would make my

  • Ruthie Rader on July 14, 2010

    I, too, want to see a photo of you in the tux, Les! :)

  • Sticky on January 18, 2012

    I’m so glad I found my solution onilne.

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