The Queen of Canadian literature was honoured by Her Majesty herself on Oct. 25.
Margaret Atwood was welcomed to Windsor Castle to receive a very special award from the Queen. The Handmaid’s Tale author, who recently won the Booker Prize for the second time, was given an Order of the Companions of Honour for her incredible achievements in literature.
The 79-year-old is just the third Canadian to receive the award, which she accepted personally from the 93-year-old monarch in a ceremony at the Queen’s Windsor home. The last Canadian to be named to the very exclusive group was historian Margaret MacMillan in 2018. Former chief of the Canadian Defence Staff John de Chastelain, who also helped mediate peace in Northern Ireland, was the first to receive it in 1999. Only 65 people are companions at any one time, according to CBC News.
Margaret told UK media she was “a bit emotional” when meeting the Queen, Canada’s national public broadcaster reported.
“When you see the Queen at her age and her schedule that she puts out, it’s an inspiration to everybody – you just keep going,” she said.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) October 25, 2019
Sweet pictures from the investiture show the monarch beaming as she holds the author’s hand, making it quite clear how much respect the two living legends have for each other. Both have done much to advance and support gender equality and the rights of women and girls throughout their lives, so it makes sense there’s quite an affinity between them.
Earlier this month, Margaret jointly won the Booker Prize for The Testaments, her sequel to her classic novel The Handmaid’s Tale. She shared the prize with British author Bernardine Evaristo, who won for Girl, Woman, Other . That novel follows 12 characters, most of whom are black women, as they navigate the world. As mentioned, Margaret was awarded the prize for the second time, which she previously won in 2000 for The Blind Assassin.
On Oct. 15, Margaret and Bernardine were welcomed to Clarence House, where they and 2018 Booker Prize winner Anna Burns met with Duchess Camilla in a special tea reception for the Booker Prize Foundation. Margaret and Bernardine also looked very friendly at the Booker Prize announcement event the day before, joining arms and smiling supportively at each other as they posed in photos celebrating their wins.
Congrats to them both!