Ardern granted audience with King Charles
A “humble” Jacinda Ardern will visit the Queen in the state while in London representing New Zealand at commemorative events for the monarch.
However, she will be spared an eight-kilometer long queue, with dignitaries offering a pass to avoid the long wait.
Ms Ardern landed in the UK the night before Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Monday.
“I have been here for a few hours, but I can already see what you have been observing for many days … it is a nation in mourning,” he told reporters.
“By being here and seeing it in person, you can simply see the extent of this period for the UK.”
The New Zealand prime minister will meet King Charles III on Saturday afternoon local time (Sunday morning AEST), saying he intends to keep his comments simple.
“I will simply share New Zealand’s grief and convey our deepest condolences,” he said.
“At the end of the day, even though it was a transition period for him, he also lost his beloved mother. For us and New Zealand, this is above all ”.
A wide range of heads of state and government are expected to arrive in London over the weekend, including US President Joe Biden.
At least eight other royal families are sending in representatives, including Danish Crown Princess Mary, born in Australia.
Speaking before her departure, Ardern said she would “look for ways to maximize time on behalf of New Zealand, while obviously fulfilling (our) main task of honoring the loss of our head of state.”
World leaders and dignitaries were given the opportunity to see the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall, which Ms Ardern said she wanted to do.
“It feels like a deeply moving process for those who come together for many, many hours to pay homage,” he said.
“I feel very honored to be here on behalf of New Zealand, to be part of what is a very sad but very historic occasion here. I feel a great weight of responsibility ”.
Ms Ardern said she will also meet with the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Prince William, now Prince of Wales, as a reward for her efforts following the terrorist attacks on Christchurch mosques in 2019.
“I remember so well after March 15 the effort he made, to come to New Zealand, to meet us, to visit those affected,” he said.
“The Prince of Wales has always been there for New Zealand in this time of pain.”
Ms Ardern will leave London on Monday evening to travel to the United Nations to represent New Zealand at the start of the 77th session of the General Assembly.