TORONTO (Reuters) – Blame it on jet lag or maybe a precocious knowledge that his great-grandmother is Canada’s head of state but Britain’s 3-year-old Prince George just wasn’t going to be charmed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Landing in Canada on Saturday on a weeklong official visit with parents Prince William and Kate Middleton, George, holding his father’s hand, ignored Trudeau when he squatted down to the toddler’s level to offer a high-five variation, the low-five.
Trudeau then switched his palm for a high-five and subsequently offered a handshake, both of which were seemingly rebuffed, creating an awkward moment on the airport tarmac in the western province of British Columbia.
Canadians felt the princely snub acutely, accustomed as they are to seeing their young premier win over millions of fans around the world and attain social media star status.
“My heart broke 15 times for trudeau in this,” said a Twitter user with the handle @OhAlexaandra.
“Justin Trudeau getting denied a high five by a toddler (even if it was the son of the prince) is a great analogy for modern global affairs,” said a Twitter user with the handle @EmMcCon.
George did shake hands with Barack Obama on his visit to England in April, when the prince was allowed to greet the U.S. president dressed in natty pajamas and a robe before he went to bed.
George and his year-old sister, Princess Charlotte, are in Canada for the first time but it is the second trip for their parents, who visited in 2011.
On Sunday, William and Kate were to visit the Immigration Services Society of British Columbia to meet staff and volunteers who help recent migrants to the area. The couple also is scheduled to meet young leaders of various industries in Canada and some of Vancouver’s first responders.
Before leaving Canada on Oct. 1, the couple is expected to have more than more than 30 engagements, including with aboriginal Canadian communities.
William is second in line to succeed his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, who has been Canada’s head of state since she ascended to Britain’s throne in 1952.
(Reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Bill Trott and Mary Milliken)