Jacinda Ardern meets Prince William in London, hints at visit by European leaders

Policy

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets Prince William at Kensington Palace on the last day of his European tour. Photo / Provided

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met Prince William at Kensington Palace in London.

New Zealand prime ministers usually meet a member of the royal family when they are in London.

Ardern enjoys a good relationship with William, which was cemented when he flew to Christchurch following the March 15 terror attacks. The prime minister spent the final day of her European tour meeting royalty, largely hidden from the public eye after her only public event of the day was cancelled.

And while Ardern’s trip may have ended on Saturday, she raised the prospect that some European leaders could seize the opportunity to visit New Zealand. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has been floated as a possibility.

She had private talks with Prince William and British Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner. Ardern was supposed to speak at the London Pride march in Trafalgar Square, but her appearance was canceled after large crowds made it impossible to get her on stage. She also had a phone call with Prince Charles.

Details of private meetings with members of the royal family are usually kept strictly secret.

Ardern said it was a good opportunity to “meet and reconnect” with the Duke of Cambridge.

“Prince William is someone who has a very close relationship with New Zealand,” she said. They talked about the Earthshot Prize, one of William’s environmental projects.

Ardern did not say if she had met any of William’s children. She left them gifts including “merch” for the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup, due to be held later this year, including a rugby ball for the family.

She also left a copy of the book “Tulip and Doug”, which Ardern described as “a beautiful story of a young girl and her pet potato”.

Ardern was coy about whether William or other royals were planning to visit New Zealand, saying it was not his job to “speculate” and that such announcements would be made by the royal family.

British Labor leader Keir Starmer shared this image of his meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on social media.
British Labor leader Keir Starmer shared this image of his meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on social media.

“There is a standing invitation and I can tell you the love and affinity that Prince William has for New Zealand is very, very strong,” Ardern said.

William made a trip to Christchurch in 2019, following the mosque terror attacks. Ardern said he always had “a very sincere interest and concern for our Muslim community.”

Ardern said some leaders had expressed interest in visiting New Zealand that invitations had been “placed”.

“It is fair to say that there are invitations that we have placed given that we would be delighted to welcome any number [of leaders]“, said Arden.

“In particular, I hope that in the future we can give hospitality to Pedro Sánchez and the Spanish government,” she said.

Ardern left London on Saturday evening.

She described the trip as a “success” and brushed off criticism that the free trade deal with the European Union was not delivering enough for farmers.

Every EU FTA must be ratified by the bloc’s 27 member states.

Ardern said she believed the FTA had a good chance of being ratified quickly, unlike other FTAs ​​which had languished without ratification for years, meaning they could not fully enter into force.

Canada’s FTA, which concluded negotiations in 2014, has still not been fully ratified.

“When you look around at the other FTAs ​​that exist with the EU, you see that ours is a really big step. Some never completed ratification. We are confident that ours will,” Ardern said. .

She will return to the southern hemisphere, although she will not immediately return to New Zealand.

Her first stop is Sydney, where she will meet Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and a New Zealand business delegation.

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