Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believes it is likely that King Charles III. will travel to Commonwealth countries, including New Zealand, following comments made during her first meeting with him as monarch.
Ms Ardern met King Charles for about 10 minutes yesterday in what she called a “really cordial meeting” which demonstrated the King’s “clear affection” for New Zealand.
Ms Ardern had also previously spoken to Britain’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss. The hour-long meeting was understandably dominated by discussion of Queen Elizabeth’s death, but also included topics such as the war in Ukraine and the recent free trade agreement between the UK and New Zealand.
Ms Ardern’s audience with the king, granted to all Commonwealth country leaders, was shared with the Prime Minister of Jamaica – another indication of the time pressures on the new king ahead of today’s state funeral.
During their talks, Ms Ardern said she had once again expressed condolences to King Charles on behalf of New Zealand for the loss of his mother.
“What I can share is that it was a heartfelt conversation, that the King deeply appreciated the thoughts of New Zealand and the efforts that so many have made to come and pay their respects,” Ms Ardern said.
King Charles reportedly inquired about the Maori king Kiingi Tuheitia and if he could travel. He landed on Saturday [NZ time].
The new king also reportedly welcomed Ms Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford.
Ms Ardern, who usually remains reticent about the details of meetings with the royal family, said she and the king had a broader conversation about New Zealand and the Commonwealth.
However, she estimated that King Charles would visit the countries of the Commonwealth in due course.
“I assume that at some point, when it’s appropriate, he’ll try to travel to Reichslands,” she said.
Ms Ardern said she felt the King’s desire to travel to New Zealand and she reiterated the “continuous invitation” to members of the royal family to visit.
Ms Ardern would have another opportunity to speak with the King today during an event for world leaders attending the funeral hosted by King Charles.
The event would not involve private meetings, and all conversations with the king were to be brief.
However, it would be an opportunity for Ms Ardern to speak to other executives and she expected to speak to those she had met before or those who had similar interests.
“My experience is that whenever leaders are in a room, they take the opportunity to connect and reconnect, especially after such a long period of separation.”
Ms Ardern’s meeting with Ms Truss, which took place in Kent about an hour south of London, was the first face-to-face meeting between the two.
She cited Ms. Truss’ involvement in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations between the two domains as an indication of their future relationship.
“I think what can comfort New Zealand is that here we have both a new prime minister and a new king at the helm. [they are] two people for whom New Zealand is already a familiar place,” said Ms. Ardern.
- Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral is tonight at 10pm NZ time, 11am UK summer time.
- The 96-year-old monarch died on September 8 and her body is laid out in Westminster Hall.
- The Queen’s coffin is carried to Westminster Abbey on the gun carriage previously used at the funerals of Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V, George VI, Winston Churchill and Earl Mountbatten, followed by King Charles III. and senior members of the royal family it on his short journey to the abbey. There, heads of state, rescue workers, representatives of the Commonwealth and Queen’s charities meet with the wider royal family for a televised service.
- Towards the end of the service, the last contribution is played, followed by a two-minute silence to be observed across the country. A dirge by the Queen’s piper then marks the end of the service.
- The coffin is then taken to Windsor by hearse.
- The dedication service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, will be televised tomorrow at around 3am (NZT) at which the Crown Jeweler will remove the Imperial crown, orb and scepter from the coffin and place them before the Lord on the high altar Chamberlain breaks his baton over the coffin. and it is lowered out of sight into the royal vault.
- The funeral at King George VI Memorial Chapel with the Duke of Edinburgh – who died in April 2021 aged 99 – tomorrow at 6.30am (NZT) will not be televised.
– By Adam Pearse