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Dame Cindy Kiro addresses media in London to convey a heartfelt message from the new King ahead of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral on Monday. Video / Adam Pearse
NZ Herald’s Adam Pearse reporting in London
King Charles III has expressed his “deep affection” for New Zealand in a personal message conveyed by New Zealand Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro after the pair spoke on the phone.
The new King is also reportedly looking forward to visiting New Zealand, but doesn’t yet know when that will be.
It comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has had her first meeting with the royal family since landing in London, holding an audience with the new Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate.
Kiro, speaking with New Zealand media in London, said she had a phone call with King Charles III yesterday, during which he passed on a message to New Zealand.
“The new King wants to convey his deep affection for New Zealand, his high regard for the country,” Kiro said.
“He said it’s very close to his heart and he wants New Zealanders to know that he’s very committed to New Zealand and he looks forward to a chance to come, but he doesn’t know when that will be.”
She noted if the King didn’t travel to New Zealand, Kiro was hopeful Prince William would in his place.
Kiro described King Charles III as “rather overloaded” currently.
“He’s been through a great deal and there’s a lot going on.”
Kiro’s call with the King followed Ardern’s announcement she would be meeting with King Charles III twice during her visit to London.
The first would occur alongside other leaders from the 15 Commonwealth realm countries. The second would involve world leaders from other countries.
Kiro said both she and Ardern would also be attending a “smallish” committal service following Monday’s state funeral. The service, held at Windsor Castle, would include heads of state for realm countries and senior members of the royal family.
“I think that speaks to the significance of the relationship with countries such as ours,” Kiro said.
Kiro would also be taking part in a trilateral meeting with the Governors-General of Canada and Australia. She would also be meeting with the leaders of Niue and the Cook Islands in separate meetings.
“We have a very special relationship as Aotearoa New Zealand with Niue, Tokelau and the Cook Islands so it’s great that we’re able to make that connection here at such a significant event.”
Kiro would not disclose the topics she would be discussing at those meetings.
Ardern, who spoke to media later in the day, didn’t go into specifics regarding her meeting with Prince William and Princess Kate, observing the traditional privacy placed on those conversations.
However, she sympathised with the pair in what was a very public grieving for someone who they viewed as not just Queen, but as a grandmother.
“It felt to me to be a real sacrifice to be part of such a public process, but doing it with such dignity and grace.”
She said she passed on New Zealand’s deepest condolences to the pair.
Ardern and Kiro were among the first foreign dignitaries to be allowed into Westminster Hall to view the Queen’s coffin lying in state today.
Ardern said she felt very humbled during her visit to Westminster Hall, noting how reserved the atmosphere was.
“I even felt aware of the sound of my own footsteps; you could almost lose sight of the fact there were hundreds of people around the hall because it is utterly silent.”
Ardern and Kiro were fortunately not made to brave the 8km-long queue that meant people were waiting almost 15 hours to see the late monarch.
Late evening NZT, the queue was temporarily closed as it had reached capacity.
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