King Charles III has conveyed his deep affection and commitment to New Zealand in a conversation with the New Zealand Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro.
The new monarch said he looked forward to coming to New Zealand on an official visit, although does not know when that would be.
Dame Cindy Kiro spoke to the King via phone yesterday.
The governor general and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are in the UK for the Queen’s funeral and the surrounding events, including a face meeting between the PM with King Charles on Sunday, and a meeting between Ardern and the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss.
At a media briefing in London overnight Dame Cindy stressed that King Charles wanted New Zealanders to know New Zealand is close to his heart.
She said she was mindful of people back home who wanted her and the prime minister to express Aotearoa’s condolences to the King and they would continue to do so.
The King had an immensely busy schedule as the political and state events surrounding him taking the throne and the Queen’s death, Dame Cindy said, and she was grateful to him to have made the time for the call.
Dame Cindy also revealed that she and the prime minister would attend a second smaller committal service at Windsor Castle following the State funeral for the Queen- involving members of the royal families and leaders of the 14 realm countries that have King Charles III as their head of state.
The Queen’s funeral, expected to be attended by 2000 guests, is to take place at Westminster Abbey at 10pm Monday New Zealand time (11am UK time).
Ardern meets with Prince William and Princess Catherine and visits the Queen as she lies in state
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has met with the Prince and Princess of Wales, and offered the deep condolences of New Zealand.
She said speaking with Prince William and Princess Catherine was a chance to acknowledge that while Aotearoa had lost a Queen, they had lost a grandmother.
And she noted that for the royal family the events following the loss of their family member were being carried out in public and under extraordinarily wide scrutiny.
“I’ve come over time to observe that no matter what role or duty you have in life you are still at the end of the day human,” Ardern said, “and this is obviously a very public grieving process which everyone in the royal family is having to partake in – but also I’ve no doubt is deeply personal to them as well.”
The prime minister said they were managing it with grace and dignity.
Ardern also visited Westminster Hall to see the Queen lying in state, and described an atmosphere of deep reverence and stillness inside the hall.
She was among the first foreign dignitaries to pay respects to the Queen inside Westminster Hall about 1am Saturday New Zealand time (2pm Friday London time).
Speaking to media in London afterward, Ardern described the moment she joined people who had queued for 11 hours to see the Queen.
She said she paused and took a moment in front of the coffin, and it was a privilege to share what felt like a deeply personal moment with those people who had queued for so long to pay respects.
“The thing that crossed my mind was just how humbling it was because here were members of the public who had had the Queen serve very directly for them – and keeping in mind many of them would have been local here in the UK – to stand alongside them for such a deeply personal thing.”