PM Jacinda Ardern: Prince Harry and Meghan welcome to visit NZ in October
22 May, 2018, 3:00 pm
WELLINGTON, 22 MAY 2018 (NZ HERALD)– Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan would be “warmly welcomed” if they came to New Zealand later this year but was mum on the likelihood of the visit happening.
The Daily Mail has reported the couple will visit New Zealand and some Pacific Islands after going to the Invictus Games in Australia in late October.
It is protocol for the Government to hold off on confirming a royal visit until the Palace announces it.
Ardern said there was a standing invitation for any members of the royal family to visit but nothing specific was in place.
“Nothing has been confirmed for New Zealand, it would be speculative at this point. I’m sure if that was a decision made by the royal couple I’m sure they would be warmly welcomed.”
Asked if there was already a team of officials working on the royal visit, she said confirmation of a visit would be needed for planning work for a visit to begin in earnest.
“But we always need to be prepared because we have a standing invitation to members of the royal family to visit New Zealand any time they choose.”
She said there were always benefits for New Zealand in a royal visit.
“I say that both at a community level, just the level of engagement that the royal family always undertake when they come here, right down to children’s hospitals and visits to Christchurch, their impact is felt widely.
No doubt, both a personal benefit and also a commercial one.”
The benefit goes both ways – the likeable Princes William and Harry are seen as strong champions to hold up the influence of the monarchy across the Commonwealth, especially in countries which still have the Queen as head of state.
Prince Harry has visited before and proved very popular. His brother Prince William has also visited several times, including on Prince George’s first overseas trip.