The Trudeau connection.

A recent post referred to Charles Howe Ivens and his daughter Catherine Sophia Ivens who eventually married John Ruckle.

But Catherine had a brother and three sisters.

[Catherine’s brother, Charles John, was to fall at Passhendale on 9th November, 1917, as Lance Corporal, Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment) – There are now several additional Posts from a fellow researcher highlighting useful links to photos and other records concerning Charles John. See ‘Ask a Question’ section or follow links]

One of those sisters was Rose Edith (b.1891) the fourth of the five children of Charles Howe Ivens. Rose married Thomas Kirkpatrick Bernard and together they had 2 children, one of whom was Doris Kathleen Bernard (1920-2012). Thomas Kirkpatrick Bernard, was born in Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia, and emigrated in 1906 at age 15 with his family to Penticton, British Columbia, eventually working as a payroll clerk for Canadian Pacific Railway.

The Bernards were the descendants of colonists in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, including Francis James Bernard, a London-born Anglo-Irishman. He was the founder of the first Singapore Police Force in 1819, The Singapore Chronicle, the first newspaper in Singapore, was established with Bernard as owner, publisher and editor in 1824 and he opened up Katong, now a densely populated residential enclave, by being the first to cultivate a coconut estate there in 1823. Bernard had married Esther Farquhar in 1818, the eldest daughter of Scotsman William Farquhar, a colonial leader in the founding of modern Singapore.

Doris Kathleen Bernard grew up to marry James Sinclair, (1908-1984) a Canadian politician born in Crossroads, The Grange, Banffshire, Scotland. He had moved to Vancouver with his family in 1911 to join his father, who had already emigrated a year earlier. Sinclair studied engineering at the University of British Columbia and was awarded a Rhodes scholarship in 1928 to study mathematics at St John’s College, in the University of Oxford.

James Sinclair married Doris Kathleen Bernard (born February 11, 1920, Penticton, British Columbia) in Saint Stephen’s Anglican Church, West Vancouver on November 2, 1940.

I thought they had just one daughter, Margaret, but I am helpfully advised by Faye Cassia that there were four other sisters: Lin, Janet, Betsy and Heather. Margaret Joan Sinclair (b.1948 Vancouver, B.C.) became an author, actress, photographer, former television talk show hostess, and social advocate for people with bipolar disorder.  Margaret Joan Sinclair met Pierre Trudeau in 1966 while on holiday in Tahiti, aged 18 years, and they married in March 1971.

[See Post containing copy of article from TIME Magazine 1971]

In 2013, Margaret Joan was to be awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Western Ontario in recognition of her work to combat mental illness.


Pierre Trudeau (1975)

After the 1974 election win, Margaret Trudeau had difficulty adjusting to her new position. “From the day I became Mrs. Pierre Elliott Trudeau,” she writes in her memoirs, “a glass panel was gently lowered into place around me, like a patient in a mental hospital who is no longer considered able to make decisions and who cannot be exposed to a harsh light.” The couple had three children: Justin (born December 25, 1971), Alexandre (Sacha) (born December 25, 1973), and Michel (October 2, 1975 – November 13, 1998).

Over time, the marriage disintegrated to the point that, as recounted in her book, Margaret had an affair with US Senator Ted Kennedy. She was also associated with members of the Rolling Stones, including Ronnie Wood and, according to Keith Richards’s autobiography, Life, Mick Jagger.


Suffering from stress and bouts of bipolar depression, she separated from her husband in 1977 and became a much-talked-about jet-setter. She gave many “tell-all” interviews to Canadian and American magazines and appeared in two motion pictures. Pierre Trudeau won custody of the children and did not pay any spousal support. She eventually wrote the book Beyond Reason about her marriage. The divorce was finalised in 1984.

In November 1998, the Trudeaus’ youngest son, Michel, an avid outdoorsman, was killed when an avalanche swept him to the bottom of British Columbia’s Kokanee Lake. The loss of her son was devastating for Margaret, and she suffered another major depressive episode that led to her second divorce from Fred Kemper.

Today, Margaret is the honorary president of WaterAid Canada, an Ottawa-based organization dedicated to helping the poorest communities in developing countries build sustainable water supply and sanitation services.

So, the Prime Minister of Canada can trace his ancestors back to Richardi Iven of Harbury (b.1566)


By Simon Fraser University – University Communications –, CC BY 2.0,

4 responses to “The Trudeau connection.

  1. We always knew Rose Edith’s granddaughter had married Pierre Trudeau – at least my fellow Canadian Ivens did – the rest is back-tracking made all the more interesting by Justin’s appearance on the world stage. I also find it mildly interesting that both surviving sons were born on Christmas Day in their respective years.


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