Chrétien is one of the "exceptional" 24

Queen Elizabeth invites the former PM to join the Order of Merit

Jean Chrétien’s name will forever be followed by the suffix O.M. Queen Elizabeth II has invited the former Prime Minister to join of the Order of Merit—which only maintains 24 living members and has included such distinguished persons as Florence Nightingale and Winston Churchill. The award was created by King Edward VII in 1902 to honour people “of exceptional distinction in the arts, learning, sciences and other areas such as public service.” It is a personal gift from the Queen, which means her ministers—such as Prime Minister Stephen Harper—have no say in the selection.

The Canadian Press