Pound sterling dropped 4.7% against the US dollar in early trading in Asia, temporarily slipping to a record low of $1.0351 and further raising the previously unthinkable prospect of sterling-dollar parity.
The slump came “after the bonanza of tax cuts and spending measures” in chancellor of the exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget last week “threatened to undermine confidence in the UK”, the Guardian reported.
The Guardian continues: “Sterling is in the firing line as traders are turning their backs on all things British,” said David Madden, a market analyst at Equiti Capital. “There is a creeping feeling the extra government borrowing that is in the pipeline will severely weigh on the UK economy.”
At today’s state memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II, prime minister Jacinda Ardern read from The Royal Visit to New Zealand, a commemorative volume marking the first visit of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to this country in 1953-54. The excerpt read by Ardern describes the royal couple’s departure from Bluff Harbour on the royal yacht, the SS Gothic:
Nearly an hour passed before the Gothic sailed. For most of the time the Queen and the Duke leaned over the rail on the upper deck, smiling and waving repeatedly and taking photographs of the scene on shore.
A Māori party on the wharf sang songs of farewell and the Gothic’s band played, but the overall sound was of cheering, swelling up again and again.
As the great white ship moved slowly through the channel, crowds ran along Marine Parade keeping abreast of her, everyone cheering, many weeping, reluctant to give up their waving until the answering white-gloved hand could be seen no longer.
With music still sounding across the water, and a host of small boats, loaded to the limit, forming a ragged procession astern, the Gothic with the Black Prince taking up her watchful station, began the voyage to Australia.
The Royal couple’s last close view of New Zealand was had next morning. While the Black Prince waited outside, the Gothic sailed quietly into the majestic Milford Sound, where, with no crowds to acclaim them, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh gazed lingeringly at the splendid scenic wonder epitomising the beauty of the land they were leaving, until the Royal yacht turned again and headed into the open sea.
The state memorial service honouring Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign is at 2pm today, and will start with a two-minute silence.
Held at St Paul’s Cathedral in central Wellington, the service will be broadcast on Three, Three Now and on Newshub online. Two big screens have been set up on parliament grounds for members of the public to watch live, where they will also have the opportunity to sign a book of condolence.
Speakers at the service include governor-general Cindy Kiro and prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who will read an extract from The Royal Visit to New Zealand, which describes the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s first visit here in the summer of 1953-54.
The Queen’s personal flag for New Zealand will be paraded by the Defence Force for the last time, and the 64-strong symphonic Royal New Zealand Air Force Band will perform.