From Ashton, Ont., to Bessastaðir in Iceland, Eliza Reid is our very own Canadian Cinderella.
When she met soon-to-be president of Iceland Gudni Johannesson on a blind date during her time at Oxford, they had no way of knowing that the history professor would one day be the country’s first new president in 20 years. Johannesson has no prior experience in politics, and until the campaign started, had been teaching history at the University of Iceland. Reid has worked as a writer and editor of several Icelandic publications since the couple moved to Iceland permanently in 2003. The couple has four adorable children under the age of nine. Seems like their lives are in for a bit of a shake-up.
The fresh presidential face comes at a crucial time for Iceland: after the Panama Papers scandal that revealed the exiting Icelandic president’s wife owned an off-shore company in the British Virgin Islands (yikes). Part of Johannesson’s job is going to be regaining the trust of the Icelandic public, but Reid thinks they’re already off to a good start.
Reid told CTV News that her husband will be a ‘unifying figure’ at this time and ran a campaign based on openness and equal representation. Eliza’s Canadian citizenship offers her an advantage with the Icelandic people too. She says, ‘the stereotype is that we’re down-to-earth, open, regular people,’ which can only help her reputation. After all the drama of the (seemingly never-ending) American election, it’s nice to see that Iceland is getting a president that seems so devoted to serving the people with few (visible) private interests.
Though the role of the President is mostly ceremonial in Iceland, Johannesson and Reid are both looking forward to the positive changes they can make in their country, including strengthening relations with Canada. That doesn’t seem like too difficult a task; Icelanders are known for being almost as friendly as Canadians. Almost.