Dr. Christopher Milroy, world-leading forensic pathologist, receives royal honour

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By David McFadden

Research Writer, University of Ottawa

Dr. Milroy has been named an “Officer of the Order of the British Empire,” one of the most prestigious honours awarded in the United Kingdom.

A professor at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine who is among the globe’s most respected forensic pathologists has received a royal honour for his many and ongoing professional contributions.

At a recent ceremony at Windsor Castle, a 1,000-room marvel outside London that is the longest-inhabited castle in the world, Dr. Christopher Milroy was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE).

The OBE is a high honour – the equivalent of the Order of Canada. Dr. Milroy says he was “genuinely surprised and shocked” when the British High Commissioner in Canada notified him about the recognition.

Milroy OB
Dr. Milroy holding his OBE award at an April 9 investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Earlier this month, he and his wife, Dr. Jacqueline Parai, a fellow forensic pathologist and an associate professor at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine, traveled to England for the April 9 investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle’s grand reception room. It did not disappoint.

“The walls were lined with magnificent paintings of monarchs, generals, admirals and even a pope! We waited to be escorted to the room where Princess Anne was giving out the medals. You are inevitably a little nervous. The room is magnificent and lined with gold. You are escorted everywhere by military officials in full dress uniforms,” he says.

When his name was called, Dr. Milroy presented himself to Princess Anne, officially known as “The Princess Royal,” who pinned the OBE medal on his lapel and chatted with him about his career for a couple of minutes.

Milroy and Anne
Dr. Milroy shaking hands with Princess Anne after receiving his OBE medal at a recent ceremony at Windsor Castle outside London.

Besides bragging rights, receiving an OBE comes with a few little-known perks. For instance, holders of the coveted royal honour are entitled to get married in a special chapel in London’s ornately domed St. Paul’s Cathedral – and their children can, too.

“I have three sons so maybe one will get married there,” he says.

Milroy and wife
Dr. Milroy and his wife, Dr. Jacqueline Parai, posing with the OBE medal.

To say the least, Dr. Milroy’s distinguished and award-winning career has been busy, varied and rewarding. Here’s some highlights:

  • He’s one of the world’s 30 most cited authors in forensic and legal medicine – and the most cited in Canada.

  • He’s Ottawa’s former chief pathologist and he’s been a Full Professor at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine since coming to Canada in 2008, relocating from his native England.
  • In the 1990s, he worked on war crimes cases in the former Yugoslavia and traveled to the Kurdish region of Turkey to conduct postmortem examinations and investigate use of chemical weapons.
  • He’s given evidence in hundreds of murder trials across the world, from England and Canada to Jamaica and South Africa. He’s also participated in inquests that took place in Australia and Ireland.
  • In 2007 and 2008, he was an expert for the Ontario government inquiry commonly referred to as “The Goudge Inquiry” into flaws in the province’s system of investigating child deaths.

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