Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, accompanied by Mrs. Chretien, is presented with the Order of Merit by The Queen at Buckingham Palace, 20 October 2009. "It is a big honour because there are very few of us — 24, including Prince Philip and Prince Charles — and very few people from political background," Chrétien told CBC News.
The honour, created by King Edward VII in 1902 and awarded in the sole gift of the Sovereign, is bestowed on "individuals of exceptional distinction in the arts, learning, sciences and other areas such as public service". Above is the Insignia of the Order of Merit awarded by The Queen to the former Canadian Prime Minister today at an audience at Buckingham Palace.
Photos © Press Association