Queen’s advice to Jacinda Ardern on life as a leader and mother

New Zealand Prime Minsiter Jacinda Ardern smiles during an appearance on the BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Queen told her she had to “just get on with it” when asked for advice about being both a leader and a new mother.

In 2018, Ms Ardern became only the second elected head of government to give birth while in office.

Speaking to the BBC, she also reiterated a belief that New Zealand would one day become a republic.

Ms Ardern is one of hundreds of leaders in London ahead of the Queen’s funeral.

Appearing on the Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, she was shown footage of her first meeting with the Queen, which took place when she was pregnant.

Asked about the conversation during that meeting, Ms Ardern said: “One of the things on my mind alongside being a new prime minister was being a prime minister and a mum.

“And when you think about leaders who have been in that position…, there were so few to look to.

“So I said to her, ‘How did you manage?’, and I remember she just said, ‘Well, you just get on with it’. And that was actually probably the best and most factual advice I could have.”

Prince Andrew and and Prince Edward were both born after the Queen took the throne. The only other elected leader to give birth in office was Benazir Bhutto, who served as prime minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996.

Ms Ardern gave birth to daughter Neve Te Aroha in June 2018, returning to work in early August of that year.

Ms Ardern, who previously lived in London, said she hadn’t been surprised “at all” by the size of the public’s response to the Queen’s death.

“I’ve seen what London looks like day-to-day, and what it feels like day-to-day, the hustle and bustle,” she said.

“And to see it just stand still, but do so so poetically, is a very moving thing to witness. The Queen was here for her people, and now her people are there for her.”

Media caption,

New Zealand’s PM says “it makes sense” that dignitaries attending the Queen’s funeral should be bussed to Westminster Abbey

She added that she had been surprised by the widespread discussion of the news that many world leaders will be bussed to the funeral instead of being allowed to take their own cars.

“I have to be honest, I’m interested that there’s so much fuss about it,” she said. “Back in New Zealand, I often get our ministers to carpool in a van. So this just makes good sense.”

Ms Ardern was also asked about recent comments in which she said she thought it was “likely” that New Zealand would become a republic in her lifetime.

“Even the Queen herself has observed and acknowledged the evolution over time in our relationships,” she said.

“So my observation is that there will continue to be an evolution in our relationship. I don’t believe that it will be quick or soon, but over the course of my lifetime.”

She added that there would “still be bonds between us as Commonwealth nations and still things to be gained through those relationships”.

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