By Rachel Giese, Chatelaine

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is running late. I’m waiting at our scheduled meeting spot, an unfussy neighbourhood restaurant on an unfancy commercial strip in Ottawa, almost 100 days after her husband, Justin Trudeau, became prime minister and the Liberal Party was elected with an unanticipated majority. I suspect the location, with craft beer on tap and locally sourced beef burgers on the menu, is a bit of political set design, meant to show me that Grégoire Trudeau is a regular person, not a lady who lunches. Once she arrives, though, with hugs for the staff, it’s clear she picked the place because she’s a regular. It’s close to her home, a cottage on the grounds of Rideau Hall, and to the public school (yes, public, not private) where her children Xavier, 8, and Ella-Grace, 7, are students.

She was late to our meeting, she explains, because she had to put her youngest child, two-year-old Hadrien, down for a nap. “I still feed him,” she says, with a frown that is half pleased and half embarrassed. “I know he’s my last one; it’s a little hard to give it up.” And so my meeting with the prime minister’s wife begins with a brief conversation about breastfeeding.

On another day, in another restaurant with another profile subject, this might have felt awkward. But Grégoire Trudeau, 40, projects the same regal, disarming warmth as her husband?—?so much so, you sometimes have to wonder how they managed to find each other. They both launch themselves into crowds and pose eagerly for photogenic selfies. They even talk alike, favouring sunny ways and sweeping platitudes that most people would deem too mortifyingly corny to say. Grégoire Trudeau describes the long election campaign as an “unbelievable opportunity to create more justice in the world” and the past three months as a “beautiful blooming.” But she can also be blunt. When I ask what it’s like to have attention paid to how she dresses and what she says, she corrects me: “You’re talking about two separate things: clothes and speech.” She is pleased to showcase Canadian designers, she says. (Though there’s a fine line between being a booster and a billboard: The $7,000 brooch she borrowed from Birks to meet the Queen did raise some eyebrows.) She adds, “What I’m doing now?—?getting out and talking to Canadians?—?is a natural extension of the work I was doing before I met my husband. I want to use the platform I’m blessed to have been given.”

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