The Queen has joked with a Canadian officer who revealed the only way to explain her overseas deployment to her young son was to tell him she was “fighting pirates”.
Major Angela Orme’s comment came as the Queen presented the Canadian Armed Forces Legal Branch with a Royal Banner during a virtual event to mark 100 years since the unit was established.
The officer spoke via a video call from Bahrain, where she is deployed on the Royal Canadian Navy’s counter-terrorism and maritime security mission, working to deter the trafficking of illicit narcotics in the region.
After almost seven months away from her two children, aged two and three, the Queen asked “So you must miss them very much?”
Major Orme, who works as a legal adviser to the Commander of the Combined Task Force 150, which conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf, replied: “I do miss them very, very much but I hope that one day when they understand why mom was gone, that they’ll be proud of me.
“And they actually do think I’m pretty cool right now because I didn’t know how to explain it to my three-year-old son what mom was doing, so I just told him that I’m away fighting pirates, and he thought that was pretty neat.”
The Queen smiled as she said: “That’s a very good answer because that’s probably true, isn’t it.”
The monarch was joined on the video call by Rear-Admiral Genevieve Bernatchez, Judge Advocate General, and other members of the Legal Branch.
The Legal Branch consists of around 300 personnel who provide legal advice and support to the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence, both at home and overseas on deployment.
Speaking from Winnipeg, Lieutenant-Colonel Noor Ahmed told the Queen about the domestic work of the Canadian Armed Forces, who have been supporting the healthcare system throughout the pandemic, and providing vital resources to elderly care facilities and remote First Nation communities.
The Queen replied: “Yes, that is what’s been happening here too, that the Armed Forces have done a huge job about vaccinations and things like that.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Noor Ahmed also recalled meeting the Queen while serving as a boy Scout, when she visited Stratford, Ontario, in 1973.
As part of celebrating the presentation of the Royal Banner, the Legal Branch will plant a tree in Ottawa in the Queen’s honour.