Jacinda Ardern was “very nervous” when she met Queen Elizabeth.
The New Zealand Prime Minister, 42, – whose country is a constitutional monarchy and as such had Her Late Majesty as Sovereign – met the late monarch in 2018 after assuming her political position and reflected upon her experience following the Queen’s death at the age of 96 earlier this month.
She said: “I think the thing that stood out for me – I was very nervous and anxious to meet the Queen. In the back of my mind, there were all the protocols and perhaps in New Zealand we don’t have too many of those. I remember feeling very dermined to get it right but I as soon as I got into the room I forgot everything that I was meant to be doing. But she still had a way of putting you at absolute ease and I think the thing that stood out to me is that you were having a conversation, and it was just that – a conversation.”
However, Jacinda went on to add that Her Late Majesty – who was succeeded as monarch by her son King Charles and left behind eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren – took a great interest in her country but was reminded that she was also a mother and a grandmother.
She told ITV News: “She knew New Zealand so intimately that she could pick up on current news and events. She knew what was happening at home and she asked questions in a level of detail that showed me that she was keeping a close eye on affairs . But at the same time, she was a mum, and a grandmum.”