Jacinda Ardern remembers Queen Elizabeth II as ‘one who forged her own way’

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford attend the state funeral for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022.
Photo: Phil Noble / Pool / TNZT

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the size of the Queen’s funeral was extraordinary.

She said Morning report the sound of the choir and trumpets echoing through the church gave it a real sense of ceremony.

Ardern said such moments reminded her that at the end of the day, the Queen was a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother.

“Then there were moments among all those moments that were exactly what you would expect at a funeral; moments of calm and reflection.

“I think the fact that there were so many people, and yet, just that silence, made that even more special and poignant.”

Moments that would stay with her were the sound of the choir and trumpets echoing through Westminster Abbey, and the Queen’s casket departing under a wave of bowed heads, as her family quietly followed her.

On the way to Windsor for the funeral service “mile after mile of that journey was full of people standing there on the side of the road waiting for a single moment to pay their personal respects to the late Majesty as her hearse drove by”.

“And the sheer number of people on that important journey alone was extraordinary in itself.”

The queen was a reflection of an important part of New Zealand’s history, Ardern said.

“She was there through such a change… someone who really forged her own path. She was a woman in leadership who started a family. To then see that after all these decades of service come to an end, more than just the loss of an individual, but the end of an era”.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth had many meetings with Māori leaders and visited marae and communities across the country.

Among New Zealand’s representatives at her funeral was the Māori king, Kiingi Tūheitia.

Kiingitanga Chief of Staff Ngira Simmonds, traveled with the Māori king to London and spoke to Morning report on his behalf.

Simmonds said the relationship between Māori and the Crown was strengthened during the Queen’s reign.

“When Kiingi Tūheitia returned from the abbey, he was clearly affected by the grief and gravity of the event for the family.”

He said that when Kiingi Tūheitia and his wife Te Makau Ariki Atawhai Paki “looked at the Queen’s children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren … they really felt the overwhelming sense of sadness of a family.

“And of course they understand the cost of service to a nation, but just as much their particular thoughts and feelings this morning we really have for the Queen’s immediate family as they gathered to say goodbye to their mother, their grandmother and great-grandmother.

“They were moved by the whole experience at the abbey, the singing, the praying and the gathering of people from all over the world.”

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Camilla, Queen Consort, Prince George of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales and Sophie, Countess of Wessex look at Queen Elizabeth II's coffin as they leave Westminster Abbey in London.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Camilla, Queen Consort, Prince George of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales and Sophie, Countess of Wessex look at Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin as they leave Westminster Abbey in London.
Photo: TNZT / Swimming pool

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