19 Sep 2022

PM Jacinda Ardern reveals Queen's advice to her on life as a leader and mother

1:02 pm on 19 September 2022
King Charles III meets with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, during a meeting of Prime Ministers of the Realms, in the 1844 Room in Buckingham Palace in London on September 17, 2022. - Queen Elizabeth's state funeral will take place on September 19, in London's Westminster Abbey, with more than 2,000 guests invited, including heads of state and government from around the world. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau / POOL / AFP)

King Charles III meets with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Buckingham Palace in London on September 17, 2022. Photo: AFP

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shared advice the late Queen Elizabeth gave her about being both a leader and a new mother, saying the late monarch told her to "just get on with it".

In 2018, Ardern became only the second elected head of government to give birth while in office.

Speaking to the BBC, she also reiterated a belief that New Zealand would one day become a republic.

Ardern is one of hundreds of leaders in London ahead of the Queen's funeral.

Appearing on the Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, she was shown footage of her first meeting with the Queen, which took place when she was pregnant.

Jacinda Ardern speaks with the BBC.

Jacinda Ardern speaks with the BBC. Photo: Supplied / BBC

Asked about the conversation during that meeting, Ardern said: "One of the things on my mind alongside being a new prime minister was being a prime minister and a mum.

"And when you think about leaders who have been in that position..., there were so few to look to.

"So I said to her, 'How did you manage?', and I remember she just said, 'Well, you just get on with it'. And that was actually probably the best and most factual advice I could have."

Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were both born after the Queen took the throne. The only other elected leader to give birth in office was Benazir Bhutto, who served as prime minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996.

Ardern, who previously lived in London, said she hadn't been surprised "at all" by the size of the public's response to the Queen's death.

"I've seen what London looks like day-to-day, and what it feels like day-to-day, the hustle and bustle," she said.

"And to see it just stand still, but do so so poetically, is a very moving thing to witness. The Queen was here for her people, and now her people are there for her."

She added that she had been surprised by the widespread discussion of the news that many world leaders will be bussed to the funeral instead of being allowed to take their own cars.

"I have to be honest, I'm interested that there's so much fuss about it," she said. "Back in New Zealand, I often get our ministers to carpool in a van. So this just makes good sense."

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern (C) and her partner Clarke Gayford (L) are greeted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during a private audience at Buckingham Palace in London on April 19, 2018. . / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Dominic Lipinski

Ardern and parner Clarke Gayford with the Queen in 2018. Photo: AFP

Ardern was also asked about recent comments in which she said she thought it was "likely" that New Zealand would become a republic in her lifetime.

"Even the Queen herself has observed and acknowledged the evolution over time in our relationships," she said.

"So my observation is that there will continue to be an evolution in our relationship. I don't believe that it will be quick or soon, but over the course of my lifetime."

She added that there would "still be bonds between us as Commonwealth nations and still things to be gained through those relationships".

Earlier, Ardern met with King Charles and new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

US President Biden arrives for funeral

US President Joe Biden is expected to pay tribute at the coffin of Queen Elizabeth in London overnight NZ time, joining hundreds of thousands of people who have filed past the late British monarch as she lies in state.

Biden will later join King Charles and scores of other world leaders and royals from around the globe for a reception ahead of the grand state funeral for Elizabeth on Monday at 10pm NZT.

Elizabeth's body has been lying in state at the historic Westminster Hall since Wednesday, and people from all walks of life and from around the world have been filing past in a constant, emotional stream, many queuing overnight.

People who wish to view the Queen have been told it is too late to set off now.

With the event being closed at 6.30am BST (5.30pm NZT) on Monday, ahead of the funeral, organisers say they will have to close the queue at some point, so do not want people to travel and be disappointed.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at London Stansted Airport on September 17, 2022, in Stansted, United Kingdom, to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at London Stansted Airport to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

"Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world," Biden said in a message following news of the queen's death on Sept. 8 at the age of 96.

He was one of the 14 US presidents of her reign, of which Elizabeth met all except Lyndon Johnson, starting with Harry Truman in 1951 when she was still a princess.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Ardern, who was seen curtsying to the coffin, are among dignitaries who have already paid their respects.

Pageantry and tradition

Britain has hosted a series of poignant, carefully choreographed ceremonies in the 10 days that have followed Elizabeth's death, reflecting the traditions and pageantry of the British royal family whose lineage stretches back almost 1000 years.

The royals and the British government are now looking ahead to Monday's funeral at Westminster Abbey, the site of coronations, weddings and burials of English and then British kings and queens since William I in 1066.

London's police force has described the ceremony as the biggest security operation it has ever undertaken. Members of the public were camping out to secure positions on the procession route.

Some 500 guests representing nearly 200 countries and territories will among those be attending - including presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens and sultans - and huge crowds are expected to throng the streets.

Britain has not held a state funeral on the scale planned for the queen since that for World War II leader Winston Churchill in 1965.

The government said big screens to watch the ceremony would be set up in Hyde Park in London and in cities across the country. The funeral will also be aired live by broadcasters.

Television ratings service Overnights.TV estimated that across the BBC and other channels carrying news, some 33 million people in Britain had tuned in on the day of her death.

Members of the public pay their respects as they pass the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it Lies in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 15, 2022. - Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state in Westminster Hall inside the Palace of Westminster, until 0530 GMT on September 19, a few hours before her funeral, with huge queues expected to file past her coffin to pay their respects. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / POOL / AFP)

Members of the public pay their respects as they pass the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it Lies in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London. Photo: ODD ANDERSEN

Such has been the desire to pay tribute to the popular monarch, the only one most Britons have known since her accession in 1952, that tens of thousands have waited patiently in the line stretching alongside the River Thames to spend a few brief seconds at the side of her coffin.

"To think that everybody's there for one person, to mark what she's done for people and whatever way they felt she touched them or their country," said Darren Luckhurst, a 49-year-old headteacher.

"Hats, gloves and I suppose camaraderie" had helped him through the cold night, he said.

A decision on closing entry to the line would be taken overnight NZ time, the government said. By the time her lying-in-state ends, as many as 750,000 may have filed past.

"She wouldn't believe all this, she really wouldn't," Prince William said as he joined his father Charles, the new king, to speak to mourners waiting in line on Saturday. "It's amazing."

- BBC/Reuters

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