Thursday, 11 Aug 2022

Duke of Cambridge meets Jacinda Ardern at Kensington Palace

Duke of Cambridge meets Jacinda Ardern at Kensington Palace as New Zealand PM visits UK for first time since she closed her nation’s borders during pandemic

  • Prince William met with Jacinda Ardern at Kensington Palace, in London, today
  • The palace released an image showing them smiling as they sat down for a chat 
  • New Zealand’s Prime Minister is here for talks with counterpart Boris Johnson
  • It is the first time she’s visited the UK since the Covid pandemic began in 2020

Prince William has met with Jacinda Ardern as she visits the UK for the first time since she closed her nation’s borders during the pandemic. 

The Duke of Cambridge met with the New Zealand Prime Minister at his royal residence, Kensington Palace in London, earlier today. 

A photo released by the palace shows the pair smiling as they talked during the meeting.

It comes a day after Ms Ardern had talks with her counterpart Boris Johnson yesterday, with the British Prime Minister shaking her hand as he welcomed her to Downing Street. 

During Friday’s meeting they spoke about trade, with her visit coming after the two countries signed a fresh free trade deal in February. 

The ongoing war in Ukraine also dominated the agenda, with Mr Johnson praising Ms Ardern’s support for the war-torn country. 

It is the first time Ms Ardern has visited the UK since she closed her nation’s borders during the pandemic.  

Prince William met with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern at Kensington Palace earlier today. The two are pictured here smiling during the meeting

Ms Ardern met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on her visit to the capital. Here she is pictured shaking hands with him outside Downing Street yesterday

Yesterday she appeared on ITV show Lorraine where she confirmed the country was ‘open for business’ after two years of isolation.

The Pacific island nation had gone into one of the world’s strictest lockdowns at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, restricting almost all travel in and out of the country, even trapping some of its own citizens outside.

Strict lockdowns were also imposed in the country in an effort to snuff out the virus as the New Zealand Labour Party politician implemented a ‘Zero Covid’ goal.

Despite fierce criticism from some in the country over the restrictions, Ms Ardern has repeatedly defended the rules, saying they saved lives.

Ms Ardern, who is currently in the UK for talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, found time to appear on ITV’s Lorraine this morning where she urged UK tourists to visit the country after it loosened rules so international travellers arriving after May 1 could do so without without quarantining.

Before then people from the UK could only enter the country under certain conditions, such as to see terminally ill loved ones, or on a student or critical worker visa.

She said: ‘We’re actually already open, anyone in the UK you can travel now. I’ll put a plug in, your winter is our summer so make those plans.

Speaking to her Scottish host, she said: ‘Having being to Scotland though I can say summer is a little more summery in New Zealand, as much as I love places like Scotland.

‘I would like to think I can be objective, it [New Zealand] is just the most beautiful place.

‘What I love as well is you can get that combination of being in cities but then being in close proximity to nature, beaches, amazing walks, nature tourism and now food and wine – it’s hard to have a bad meal.’

Jacinda Ardern appeared on ITV’s Lorraine this morning to pitch New Zealand as a winter holiday destination for British tourists. Here she is pictured on the show today

After her appearance on the morning talk show, Ms Ardern went to Downing Street where she met UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

In the meeting Mr Johnson praised her for the ‘very strong line that you take on Ukraine’, while she said her visit to Europe was an ‘incredibly important milestone’ for New Zealand.

Ms Ardern said it signified ‘we are open for business, for trade, for tourism’.

The New Zealand prime minister said the pair would be discussing the recently signed trade deal and progress on ratification.

She said the deal was good for both the UK and New Zealand.

Ms Ardern also said they would discuss the situation in Ukraine, hot on the heels of a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.

She told the Prime Minister it was a good ‘opportunity’ to discuss the way the two countries have together responded to the war, noting the UK leadership on the conflict.

‘We have also provided our military aid via our partnership with you,’ she told Mr Johnson.

Ms Ardern attended the meeting wearing a dress that was almost identical to one worn by the Duchess of Cambridge during the royal tour of India in 2016. 

The 41-year-old wore a £1,550 Emilia Wickstead midi dress and nude heels, in echoes of an outfit worn by Kate, 40. 

She even channeled the royal, who is Prince William’s wife, by wearing her brunette locks in a bouncy blow-dry.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a version of the same frock during a royal visit to India and Bhutan in April 2016 for a UK Government Great campaign event in Mumbai, pairing it with a light clutch bag and light pink heels. 

Yesterday Jacinda wore an almost identical garment – only the collar was slightly different – for her meeting at Downing Street. 


Jacinda Ardern bore a striking resemblance to Kate Middleton as she stepped out to meet the Prime Minister yesterday. Ms Ardern, 41, wore a £1,550 Emilia Wickstead midi dress and nude heels, in echoes of an outfit worn by Kate, 40, during her royal tour of India in 2016 

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a version of the same frock during a royal visit to India and Bhutan in April 2016 for a UK Government Great campaign event in Mumbai, pairing it with a light clutch bag and light pink heels 

Yesterday Ms Ardern wore an almost identical garment – only the collar was slightly different – for her meeting at Downing Street

Back at home Ms Ardern faced a slew of criticism from campaigners and members of the public after imposing strict Covid curbs since the start of the pandemic.

International borders were promptly closed on March 19, with a nationwide lockdown enforced on March 25 after 102 cases, and no deaths, were recorded in the country.

On June 8, the PM announced there had been no new community transmissions within the past fortnight and says she is ‘confident New Zealand has eliminated community transmission of Covid’.

But within two months, Auckland was placed under strict lockdown measures after just four new cases were recorded in the city area.

A draconian ‘Zero Covid’ goal was then implemented across the country, with New Zealand aiming to completely eradicate the virus from its shores.

But this policy was met with ridicule as the Delta variant ripped through the world in the summer of 2021, prompting a return to multiple weeks of lockdown for Auckland’s 1.7 million residents.

Critics slammed the return of draconian curbs on everyday life, pointing to the fact other countries have started to reopen despite reporting thousands of new cases.

MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton hit out at the ‘terror and paranoia’ that has enveloped New Zealand since implementing its drastic zero-Covid policy while the rest of the world learns to live alongside the virus.

His deeply personal column prompted support from a host of British and New Zealand readers, including former All Black star Zinzan Brooke, who tweeted: ‘Completely agree with Dan here’.

Covid curbs introduced by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

March 16, 2020: Mandatory self-isolation for all new arrivals, including New Zealanders into the country.

March 19: All non-residents or citizens are banned from entering the country under an international border ban.

March 25: Nationwide lockdown enforced, with only essential services allowed to open. At this stage, NZ has recorded 102 cases and 0 deaths.

June 8, 2020: Ardern announces no new community transmissions within the past fortnight and says NZ has eliminated transmission of Covid. 

August-September 2020: Auckland’s 1.7million residents endure two months of lockdown measures after 4 new cases are initially recorded.

February-March 2021: Auckland re-enters lockdown as three new Covid cases are recorded in the community.

August 17: All of New Zealand re-enters Level 4 lockdown measures for two weeks as one new community case is recorded.

October: Traffic light system is created, barring unvaccinated residents from entering businesses, gyms and barbers in ‘red’ or ‘amber’ alert areas.

December: The Government delays the planned reopening of its border in February due to the spreading Omicron variant. 

December 21: Length of stay for people in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities increased to 10 days.

January 2022: Public backlash as major events and sporting fixtures are capped at a maximum of 100 people under Covid Red Alert measures.

January 18: Government postpones managed isolation and quarantine lottery due to increase in Covid cases.

January: Ardern announced she had cancelled her own wedding after nine new Omicron cases were recorded.

February: Government announces plan to open up country with New Zealanders and eligible travellers from Australia allowed to skip quarantine as long as they self-isolate for 10 days.

March 2: Vaccinated travellers entering the country no longer have to self-isolate on arrival. 

May 2: UK travellers and those from other visa waiver countries allowed to enter country without self-isolating.

August 2022: New Zealand government to loosen restrictions to allow all travellers to enter the country provided they are vaccinated and take two rapid antigen tests after arrival.

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