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Ardern to travel to UK next week for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

Made possible by our members, welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates, I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. You can reach me on email at 

What you need to know

  • Queen Elizabeth II has died at age 96. The head of the Commonwealth is now King Charles III.
  • A state memorial service will take place in Wellington following the official funeral in the UK. That’s expected to take place next week, with PM Jacinda Ardern and governor general Cindy Kiro in attendance.
  • Ardern led local tributes to the monarch, calling her “much loved and admired”. National’s Christopher Luxon expressed “sorry and sadness” over the monarch’s death.
  • Former PMs including Helen Clark and John Key have reflected on their meetings with the Queen.
  • In case you were wondering: Yes, banknotes, coins and passports featuring the Queen are still valid.
  • We’ll continue to have updates across the weekend as they come in.

Ardern to travel to UK next week for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

Made possible by our members, welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates, I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. You can reach me on email at 

What you need to know

  • Queen Elizabeth II has died at age 96. The head of the Commonwealth is now King Charles III.
  • A state memorial service will take place in Wellington following the official funeral in the UK. That’s expected to take place next week, with PM Jacinda Ardern and governor general Cindy Kiro in attendance.
  • Ardern led local tributes to the monarch, calling her “much loved and admired”. National’s Christopher Luxon expressed “sorry and sadness” over the monarch’s death.
  • Former PMs including Helen Clark and John Key have reflected on their meetings with the Queen.
  • In case you were wondering: Yes, banknotes, coins and passports featuring the Queen are still valid.
  • We’ll continue to have updates across the weekend as they come in.
Sep 9 2022

Listen: Gone By Lunchtime’s King Charles III special

No, we didn’t get KC3 on the pod, but Gone By Lunchtime has arguably the next best thing: Otago University professor and royal correspondent Andrew Geddis, in conversation with Toby Manhire following the death of Queen Elizabeth after 70 years on the throne. What is the monarch’s role in New Zealand’s political apparatus? Can the head of state intervene in our stuff? And what might the accession of Charles mean for the republican cause?

Follow Gone By Lunchtime on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast provider.

The photo Jacinda Ardern gifted the Queen in 2018

The Queen during her coronation tour (Photo: supplied)

During the prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s early morning press conference today, in which she expressed sorrow at the death of Queen Elizabeth II, she referenced a photo taken of the Queen in New Zealand that was gifted to the monarch in 2018. It was taken of the Queen during her 1953/54 tour of the country when Sidney Holland was prime minister.

Speaking at parliament, Jacinda Ardern said that upon gifting the photo, she was amazed to find that the Queen remembered why she was photographed laughing. She was amused by the informal way in which the New Zealand public called out to the PM by his nickname “Sid”, recalled Ardern.

As supplied by the prime minister’s office this morning, here is that 70-year-old snap.

The Queen during her coronation tour (Photo: supplied)

I’m clocking off the live updates for the week, thank you for tuning in throughout the day. We’ll have ongoing coverage over the weekend with our deputy editor Catherine McGregor stepping in.

What the Queen’s death means for the UK, NZ and beyond

Queen Elizabeth II photographed in 2012 (Photo: Getty Images)

The death of a monarch means a lot of protocol kicks into gear. That includes the eventual replacement of Commonwealth currency, passports, the ascension of a new leader and changes to several Royal titles.

The Spinoff’s royal correspondents have put together a detailed explainer, answering all your questions about what happens next. (Including details on the new King’s Birthday weekend and what happens to places like Queenstown). Read the piece in full here.

And here’s the lowdown on what happens now.

In the UK:

Within minutes of the Queen’s death, a meticulous plan for the aftermath of her passing was put into action. Codenamed Operation London Bridge, it was accompanied by some special provisions known as Operation Unicorn, setting out what to do should her death occur at Balmoral, the royal family’s Scottish holiday home.

Under the Unicorn plan, the Queen’s coffin will be driven to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official royal residence in Edinburgh, where it will rest for two days. A ceremonial procession will then take place to nearby St Giles’ Cathedral, where a service is expected to be attended by the royal family. After being flown back to London, her coffin will be brought to Buckingham Palace before a ceremonial procession through London on Wednesday (UK time) to Westminster Hall, where the Queen will lie in state until her funeral on Monday.

In New Zealand:

As Queen Elizabeth II was the head of state in New Zealand, you might be wondering if we are now headless. The constitutional issue is an easy one to address. Prince Charles is now King Charles III, sovereign, the King of New Zealand and head of state. His ascendancy to the throne is immediate.

Decisions on events and protocols following the death of the Queen will be made by the prime minister, but here is what we know so far about what will happen in New Zealand.

A period of national mourning has started, following the prime minister’s address this morning. It will continue until after the New Zealand state memorial service which will happen after the Queen’s funeral in the UK. The New Zealand flag will be flown at half-mast from the announcement of the death up to and including the day of the funeral. Condolence books will likely be opened at parliament and the National Library, as they were following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, and by local councils around the country.

There will be a 96 gun salute starting at 6pm, Friday night on the Wellington waterfront in front of Te Papa. Places will be designated for members of the public to leave flowers. The governor-general’s website will continue to be updated with information for the public.

Queen Elizabeth II photographed in 2012 (Photo: Getty Images)

New Zealand passports remain valid following queen’s death


Don’t fret: your passport remains current and valid for overseas travel and as proof of identification, the Department of Internal Affairs has confirmed following Queen Elizabeth II’s death. “They will continue to be valid until they expire,” the department said.

A note inside New Zealand passports refers to “Her Majesty The Queen”, in her capacity as New Zealand’s head of state, permitting holders to “pass without delay or hindrance” and, where necessary, to be given “all lawful assistance and protection”.

Future passports will be issued in King Charles III’s name, the department said. Until then, all passports will continue bearing The Queen’s name.

An alternate reality: Today’s local newspaper front pages


With the news of the Queen’s passing coming in the early hours of the morning, New Zealand’s newspapers had already been printed and delivered to newsstands around the country.

It means they present a sort of alternative reality: the news we would have been focusing on today if the monarch hadn’t died.

NZ Herald:

The Herald print edition leads with a harrowing story out of the Bay of Plenty. I’ll leave you to read it, with a content warning, here. On the sidebar, there are teasers of a story about Auckland mayoral candidate Viv Beck and the electric future of Auckland’s ferry services.

The Dominion Post:

Wellington’s paper begins with a report from political editor Luke Malpass on the “swelling public service” – up 28% since Labour took office. You can read that report here.

Up top, there’s a tease for a story on The Spinoff’s favourite reality show Celebrity Treasure Island.

The Press:

In Christchurch, the top story on The Press was about the trio of resignations from the city council’s investment company over the past fortnight. Christchurch City Holdings Limited chief executive Tim Boyd quit the firm over “differences of opinion”, the paper reported. Read more here.

The Otago Daily Times:

The top story out of Otago appears to be that you can nab 60 months interest free at Harvey Norman. Big yarn: read more on that here.

For more on the media response to the Queen’s death, read this from The Spinoff’s Toby Manhire.

Dame Cindy Kiro, PM Ardern, will travel to the UK next week

Dame Cindy Kiro and PM Ardern at the announcement of who the next governor general will be (Mark Tantrum, Getty Images)

Dame Cindy Kiro, the governor general and the Queen’s representative in New Zealand, will travel to the UK next week for the official funeral of the monarch.

She will be joined by the prime minister Jacinda Ardern. Following their return to New Zealand, a state memorial service, open to the public, will be held.

Speaking at Government House, Kiro said she was confident that all New Zealanders had respected the Queen as a person committed to the people of the Commonwealth. “She is a symbol of dedication to service,” said Kiro.

Prior to becoming governor general, Kiro met the Queen while performing in a kapa haka group at the South Pacific Festival of the Arts. “I thought she was someone who had a real presence about her,” the governor general said. “It was a presence that everyone noticed and it made a real difference to the venue. She was rather small in stature but big in presence.”

The last time the two conversed it was over Zoom.

On the forthcoming funeral plans, Kiro said she expected all of the Royal Family would attend along with many heads of state. “My expectation is that myself as the Queen’s representative will go on behalf of all New Zealanders along with the prime minister. We want to be there to pay our respects to her and also to the other heads of state that will be gathering.”

Tonight, there will be a 96 gun salute – officially dubbed a “death gun salute” by the Defence Force – starting at 6pm on the Wellington waterfront in front of Te Papa. Kiro said the public was welcome to attend.

Dame Cindy Kiro and PM Ardern (Mark Tantrum, Getty Images)

Image of the day: The Queen of Hats

A Queen and all her royal hats (Image: Tina Tiller)

Today’s image of the day comes from The Spinoff’s very own design whiz Tina Tiller. 

In commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, enjoy this royal collage of a fashion icon.

A Queen and all her royal hats (Image: Tina Tiller)

TVNZ clears the schedule after Queen’s death

Just a note from me that if you’re wanting rolling televised coverage of the developing news regarding Queen Elizabeth II, TVNZ has cleared the schedule. According to a statement, TVNZ1’s regular schedule for today has been replaced by breaking news coverage in commemoration of the Queen’s life.

The TV guide shows rolling coverage through until midnight.

Meanwhile, on Three, coverage has been replaced with rolling news coverage for at least the next few hours.

Former PMs reflect on meeting the Queen: ‘A role model of dignity’

HM Queen Elizabeth II receives New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark at Buckingham Palace on November 10 2006. (Photo by Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage)

Former New Zealand prime ministers, whom have all met the Queen during their tenure leading the country, have joined the chorus of tributes today.

Speaking to RNZ, Helen Clark reflected on the Queen’s ability to speak on many issues in an informed manner. “She could talk about events with a great deal of knowledge. I found her very interested to talking to and I look back on those conversations as something very precious,” said Clark.

However, the Queen never gave her opinion on topics of the day – even in conversations with world leaders. “She always stood above the argy-bargy of the day, she was a figure of unity,” Clark said. “No one really knew what the Queen thought about things – the Queen presented as someone that was there for everyone. She’s been a role model of dignity, and that guard was never really let down.”

Asked what the Queen might give her opinion on, Clark, laughing, said “probably Ascot. She loved her horses.” On the topic of animals, Clark said she recalled a memorable lunch with the Royal Family at Windsor. “I remember we had a little pre-lunch sherry in the drawing room and then when we came down the corridor there was a carpet of corgis,” she said.

HM Queen Elizabeth II receives New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark at Buckingham Palace on November 10 2006. (Photo by Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage)

In a statement shared via media, John Key said being hosted by the Queen at Balmoral was an “unforgettable experience.”

He added: “What most stays with me is The Royal Family’s genuine interest in other people and their unwavering dedication to the welfare of the Commonwealth.”

The Queen’s dedication to public service “was a lifelong and heartfelt commitment”, said Key. “I am grateful for The Queen’s counsel to me when I was prime minister, and for her service to New Zealand and to the Commonwealth.”

John Key and the Queen (Photo by Tim Ireland/WPA Wire/Getty Images)

Production of The Crown reportedly paused

Olivia Colman’s performance as Queen Elizabeth Ii in The Crown humanizes the real life figure immensely.

Netflix’s Royal family drama The Crown will suspend production in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

The fifth season of the multi-award winning series was expected to air later this year. It’s not yet known whether the monarch’s passing will ultimately impact the release of the show, but Variety has reported that production will pause for now.

Neither Netflix nor the show’s creators have confirmed this.

Olivia Colman’s performance as Queen Elizabeth Ii in The Crown humanizes the real life figure immensely.

‘London Bridge is down’: The plan for after the Queen’s death

From this morning’s edition of The Bulletin, a refresher on the plan set into motion by the Queen’s passing.

The plan for what happens now is known as “London Bridge”. It is very eerie re-reading this this morning, but the Guardian published the full details of this plan in 2017. “The Queen’s family and her majesty’s doctors will be in attendance.” “Civil servants will say “London Bridge is down” on secure lines”. It has been planned for many years, every detail accounted for and playing out now, in real time. Tributes and obituaries have been prepared.

The BBC and the Guardian both have detailed histories and recountings of her long and extraordinary life.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 36,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture.  

Rock music royalty react to the Queen’s death: ‘Gutted’

Tributes are flowing in for Queen Elizabeth II from musicians and artists around the world, many of whom she knighted during her seven-decade reign.

“For my whole life Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has always been there,” wrote The Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger, who was knighted in 2003. “In my childhood, I can recall watching her wedding highlights on TV. I remember her as a beautiful young lady, to the much-beloved grandmother of the nation.”

In an Instagram post, the English rock band said the former monarch was a “constant presence in their lives as in countless others”.

Sir Elton John, who was knighted in 1998, said the Queen “lead the country through some of our greatest, and darkest, moments with grace, decency and a genuine caring warmth. Queen Elizabeth has been a huge part of my life from childhood to this day, and I will miss her dearly.”

Oasis’s Liam Gallagher simply wrote: “Gutted”.

Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon described the Queen as a “strong and powerful woman” who served with “integrity, dignity, grace and compassion” during her 70 years on the throne, the longest reign in British history. Black Sabbath lead vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, “with a heavy heart”, said he was mourning the passing “of our greatest Queen”.

At this stage, the band Queen has not yet paid tribute to the Queen.

Tributes have also poured in across the Atlantic: rapper Nicki Minaj succinctly tweeted: “RIP, QUEEN” and singer Patti Smith posted an image of the Queen and the late Prince Philip with the caption: “Now they are back together”.

Stevie Nicks, in a statement riddled with random tildes, said the Queen “made it very clear to all the brilliant men that surrounded her ~ that she was the Queen ~ and they were not. She showed all women how strong they could be ~ for 70 years she did this.” The Fleetwood Mac frontwoman ended: “The world is an empty place without her.”

Few tears, many smartphones: A live report from Buckingham Palace

Former Stuff report Henry Cooke is in London. He reports on the mood on the ground on the night the Queen died. Here’s an extract:

As I got closer to the palace I mostly saw people doing what all modern people do when interesting historic things happen – taking photos or videos on their smartphones. Piccadilly Circus had a huge wraparound image of the Queen already up, which people dutifully took selfies in front of.

In front of the palace itself people amassed on the Queen Victoria statue to get a good view of the palace, with the union jack at half-mast. The wind wasn’t really playing ball, so whenever it did pick up, tens of phones were raised in unison. One side of the Memorial Gardens was crowded by legions of TV journalists, all standing under identical white gazebos and well-separated from the public.

I couldn’t see anyone crying, although there were solemn faces. People stayed close to the gates, putting down bouquets of flowers and taking endless photos, leading one man to yell “once you’ve taken your 10 photos can you please move on?”

Read Henry’s full dispatch from Buckingham Palace here

Prince Harry arrives at Balmoral, without Meghan

Prince Harry was en route to Balmoral when he was informed of the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Despite the oft-reported fractures within the Royal Family triggered by Harry’s decision to give up his duties in the UK, it’s been reported he remained close with his grandmother.

It’s been reported Meghan Markle did not travel to Balmoral with her husband.

With the passing of The Queen, her great-grandchildren Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and Lilibet “Lili” Mountbatten-Windsor will technically become prince and princess.

Prince William’s new title confirmed

With the ascension of King Charles to the throne, his children will shift into new Royal positions.

Prince William will automatically assume the titles of Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester and Duke of Rothesay for use when in Scotland. His wife, Kate Middleton, receives the female equivalent titles.

They are not losing their Duke and Duchess of Cambridge titles.

The couple’s children, George, Charlotte and Louis, become Prince and Princess of Cornwall and Cambridge.

However, while many will assume that William will become the Prince of Wales – the title held by Charles before he became King – this will not happen automatically. It’s been reported that this title is discretionary, so will only be passed to William when Charles bestows it.

King Charles yet to address the UK, set to meet with PM Liz Truss

Charles at the funeral of his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 2021. Photo: Getty

While the Commonwealth’s new King, Charles III, has released a statement following the death of The Queen, he has not yet addressed the world. According to reports out of the UK, that’s likely to happen tomorrow (UK time) so possibly later tonight here in New Zealand.

The BBC has reported that the next few days will be spent preparing for the Queen’s funeral and for the ascension of King Charles III to the throne. The new King will also meet for his first audience with prime minister Liz Truss, who has had a whirlwind first 72 hours in the job.

Earlier today, Jacinda Ardern confirmed New Zealand will enter an official period of mourning and host a state memorial service after the official funeral for the monarch.

World leaders pay tribute to The Queen: ‘She defined an era’


President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden have led global tributes to Queen Elizabeth II, releasing a two-page statement on the monarch’s passing.

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch,” the president’s statement began. “She defined an era.”

The Bidens reflected on their first time meeting The Queen in 1982 and the hospitality shown later in 2021. She met 14 American presidents in her lifetime.

Liz Truss, who only this week became UK prime minister, earlier today fronted for a press conference on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. In a statement, Truss called the monarch the “rock on which modern Britain was built”.

Former UK prime minister Boris Johnson, who would have been one of the last people to have seen The Queen while she was alive, has also released a statement. “This is our country’s saddest day,” he wrote. “In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss.”

Closer to home and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese has celebrated The Queen’s “historic reign” and “long life devoted to duty, family, faith and service”.

Pope Francis said he joined mourners and paid tribute to her devotion to duty. “I willingly join all who mourn her loss in praying for the late Queen’s eternal rest, and in paying tribute to her life of unstinting service to the good of the nation and the Commonwealth, her example of devotion to duty, her steadfast witness of faith in Jesus Christ and her firm hope in his promises.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Queen Elizabeth II was “widely admired for her grace, dignity, and dedication around the world”.

He added: “She was a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change… The world will long remember her devotion and leadership.The world will long remember her devotion and leadership.”

Somehow finding time to issue a statement while being at war, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky shared his extended his “sincere condolences to the Royal Family, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth”.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”On behalf of the people, we extend sincere condolences to the Royal Family, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Finally, though perhaps not technically a world leader, Paddington Bear has also paid tribute. He recently appeared in a sketch released for the Queen’s Jubilee ceremony.

Yes, banknotes and coins featuring the Queen are still legal tender


The Bank of England has issued a statement of condolence for Queen Elizabeth II together with a note about the notes. It reads: “As the first monarch to feature on Bank of England banknotes, the Queen’s iconic portraits are synonymous with some of the most important work we do. Current banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen will continue to be legal tender.” Can we expect a new print run and Charles III in our wallets? “A further announcement regarding existing Bank of England banknotes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed.”

Obviously this relates to the UK rather than New Zealand, but, though we await a statement, our own Reserve Bank has previously confirmed, for the avoidance of any doubt, that your change is unchanged. A study of the Queen’s place on New Zealand currency published by the Reserve Bank earlier this year observed: “A numismatic approach is taken to describe how the Queen has been depicted on New Zealand’s banknotes and the obverse (‘heads’) side of our coins. Four different portraits have appeared on our banknotes, and five different effigies (images) of the Queen have been used on our coins.”

It explained: “Various portraits of the Queen have appeared on the banknotes of more than 30 countries around the world. Over the years, New Zealand’s banknotes have depicted the Queen consistent with her age as is her preference. Before a portrait of the Queen can be featured on a banknote, her approval must be sought and given for both the portrait and how it is worked into the note design … Although an image of the Queen has graced the ‘heads’ side of New Zealand’s coins since 1953, she did not appear on our banknotes until the introduction of decimal currency in 1967 when the Reserve Bank issued its third series of banknotes.”

The opposition reacts: ‘A remarkable reign and a lifetime of service’

National MP Christopher Luxon (Photo: Getty Images)

Tributes from across the political spectrum have flowed steadily in following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Christopher Luxon has expressed “sorry and sadness” on behalf of the National Party, saying her death ended a “remarkable reign and a lifetime of service”.

“On the recent occasion of The Queen’s 70th Jubilee, I said that her unflinching dignity, compassion, and selflessness had given the Commonwealth a sense of security throughout her reign,” said Luxon. “The strength and stability of Her Majesty’s leadership of the Commonwealth was a reassuring anchor for New Zealand and New Zealanders in uncertain and changing times. Through both the tumultuous and the good, her dedicated service embodied the values of duty, commitment, and strength.”

National MP Christopher Luxon
National MP Christopher Luxon (Photo: Getty Images)

Act’s David Seymour shared his “sincere condolences” to the Royal Family and said The Queen will remembered for her lifelong dedication to public service. “She has selflessly served the commonwealth every day of her life,” said Seymour. “She created a long period of stability for the monarchy and the Commonwealth, even as the world changed dramatically around her.”

On Twitter, co-leader of Te Pāti Māori Rawiri Waititi said The Queen was a “constant across three generations, an anchor in a rapidly changing globe”.


NZ moves to ‘period of official mourning’ after Queen’s death – Ardern

Queen Elizabeth II and NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern at Buckingham Palace in 2018 (Photo: Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has conveyed her deepest sympathy to the Royal Family and to King Charles III for their “enormous loss” after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaking from the Beehive theatrette, Ardern, who said she was “profoundly sad,” confirmed New Zealand will move into a period of official mourning, with flags lowered to half mast. A state memorial service will take place once the official funeral has been held in the UK.

Ardern said the Queen’s last days, in which she helped usher out the Boris Johnson government and bring in the Liz Truss government, captured who she was: “working to the very end for the people she loved.”

The prime minister was informed of the monarch’s passing in the early hours of the morning. “I had a police officer shine a torch into my room at about 10 to 5 this morning,” said Ardern. “Just the night prior I’d been reading some of the news about her state of health, so when that torch light came into my room I knew what it was about.”

The Queen has come to “define notions of charity, service and consistency”, said Ardern, and has demonstrated courage, compassion and humour. “A strong memory I will have of her is her laughter. She was extraordinary.”

A gun salute and moment of silence will be scheduled in the coming days, said Ardern.

Reflecting on her time meeting the Queen in the past, Ardern mentioned a lockdown conversation she had had with the monarch. “During the lockdown I asked her how she’d been passing the time, she said she’d been listening to a radio show about a political prisoner. She said ‘you listen to that and it makes one feel rather small’.”

Queen Elizabeth II and NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern at Buckingham Palace in 2018 (Photo: Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Jacinda Ardern to speak at 7.30am

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as she is introduced to officials at the Catherdral Of St Paul in Wellington on her last visit to New Zealand in 2002 (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)

The prime minister will front an early morning press conference following the death of Queen Elizabeth II this morning.

We’ll have a livestream for you and provide rolling coverage.

Earlier this morning, Jacinda Ardern paid tribute to the Queen for her years of service.

King Charles III

Charles at the funeral of his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 2021. Photo: Getty

Following the death overnight of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles is now the King of the United Kingdom, and accordingly head of state of New Zealand. Clarence House has confirmed he will be known as Charles III. A formal coronation is expected in the days to come.

Charles at the funeral of his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 2021. Photo: Getty

In a statement, King Charles, who is 73, said: “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

He said: “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”


Jacinda Ardern pays tribute to Elizabeth II, who has died at 96

queen Elizabeth on a visit to NZ in 1977. Photo: Getty

After 70 years as monarch and head of state of New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96. Charles will succeed her to the throne.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” said a Buckingham Palace spokesperson in a statement. “The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

In a statement issued shortly after 5.30am this morning, the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said: “I know that I speak for people across New Zealand in offering our deepest sympathy to members of the Royal Family at the passing of the Queen. To us she was a much admired and respected monarch, to them she was a mother and grandmother.”

She said: “The Queen was a much loved and admired monarch, whose record reign of 70 years is an absolute testament to her, and her commitment to us all. She was extraordinary. People throughout the world will be feeling an acute sense of loss at this time and New Zealanders most certainly share that grief. The Queen was a much respected constant through unprecedented global change. The Queen visited New Zealand on ten occasions, with that notable first tour over the summer of 1953-54 when she and Duke of Edinburgh visited 46 centres and attended 110 functions.

“She was here to celebrate with us at events such as the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games and the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.  She also mourned with us when we were hit by terrible tragedies such as the Tangiwai rail disaster and the February 2011 earthquake. I know a number of New Zealanders who had the privilege of meeting Her Majesty were struck by her keen interest, warmth and sense of humour. I remember in my very first meeting with Her Majesty being humbled by her intimate knowledge of New Zealand and its triumphs and challenges.

“I presented her with a gift from a New Zealander who had kept a photo of her visit more than 50 years prior. She recalled where it was taken and even what had made her laugh at the moment the photo was taken. We will make arrangements for a State Memorial Service and many communities around the country will also want to show their respects and pay tribute at their own local events.”

Government flags will fly at half mast. Jacinda Ardern will appear at a press conference from the Beehive at 7.30am.

‘The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health’

Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: Buckingham Palace

The Queen’s eldest son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, together with his three siblings, his wife Camilla and his son Prince William have all gathered at Balmoral Castle in Scotland to be with the unwell 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are also heading to Scotland, according to Sky News.

The Queen, who is New Zealand’s head of state, “remains comfortable”, according to Buckingham Palace. In a departure from previous statements, however, it added: “Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.”

Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: Buckingham Palace

The Queen, who recently marked 70 years on the throne, this week appointed Liz Truss as the new British prime minister from her Scottish home, having been unable to travel to London owing to ill health. Both Truss, the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, and the archbishop of Canterbury, the senior bishop of the Church of England, have expressed their concerns about the health of the monarch.

In sum: it’s very serious.