Leaders both in New Zealand and across the world are paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. Video / NZ Herald / AP
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expects King Charles III will stay politically neutral, despite making his opinions known on several issues in the past.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan this evening, Ardern also said a time for an official moment of silence to commemorate the death of Queen Elizabeth II would be organised and released within the next two days.
She said it would be at a time when “New Zealanders will have the opportunity to really pause and join in nationally”.
Ardern said she intended to go to the Queen’s funeral and was waiting for the following days’ official events in the UK to be organised.
Logistics would need to be worked out, Ardern said, as it would clash with her trip to the United Nations General Assembly.
Ardern spoke of the Queen’s interest in New Zealand’s current affairs and said King Charles had a similar interest.
“Over the years, [Charles’ involvement in politics] has always been at the level of where you would expect a future king to be interested,” Ardern told du Plessis-Allan.
As a prince, King Charles expressed his opinions publicly on climate change and a number of other issues, which was at times controversial due to a precedent for royals to remain politically neutral.
“[Royals] do have an interest in what’s happening; current events and issues that are top of mind for New Zealand,” Ardern said.
She said she had met King Charles on a “number” of opportunities, as recent as this year in Europe, where he had shown a “genuine affinity” for New Zealand.
Ardern said he was particularly connected to the country through his work with The Prince’s Trust, a charity for vulnerable young people.
“I think about the times when I spoke to the Queen, it was during things like lockdown. Of course, when we’ve had members of the royal family, such as Prince William, it was in the aftermath of March 15.”
Ardern said she was unsure of when she would speak to the country’s new king, as he would be currently involved in establishing the UK’s new government.