Australia and New Zealand have held proclamation ceremonies for new head of state King Charles III, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying she expected her country’s relationship with the royal family to “deepen” and Australia declaring a one-off public holiday a day of national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.
New Zealand held its formal ceremony on the grounds of Parliament, with the talks led by Governor-General Cindy Kiro and Ardern, beginning with the national anthem and a prayer in te reo Māori – the indigenous language.
Ardern said she believed New Zealand’s close connection with the royal family would continue and strengthen under the new monarch.
“King Charles has long had a devotion to Aotearoa New Zealand and has consistently demonstrated his deep care for our nation. This relationship is deeply valued by our people. I have no doubt it will deepen,” she said.
She hailed the Queen’s “unwavering duty” at the country’s ceremony to recognize King Charles III as head of state.
“With her death, we enter a time of change – a time filled with sadness at her passing, but also gratitude for the life she led and the example she set. We are forever grateful for her close ties to our country, but it is a bond and affection that spans her entire family,” she said.
Australia also officially recognized King Charles as the country’s new sovereign, with the Governor-General and Executive Council making their public proclamation at Parliament House, followed by a 21-gun salute.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said there had been “an outpouring of grief” following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. “In Queen Elizabeth’s own words, grief is the price we pay for love, I think is an apt statement about how so many Australians feel at this time,” he said.
“Today we formally mark the new head of state in King Charles III and the proclamation – the first in my lifetime and the first in the lifetime of a majority of Australians – is a historic event.”
Earlier on Sunday, he declared September 22 a single holiday as the national day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II and that Australia had offered to fly 10 of its Pacific Island counterparts and New Zealand dignitaries to Britain for the queen’s funeral.
Unlike Australia, New Zealand has yet to announce a public holiday to mark the Queen’s passing. A New Zealand government spokesman said the cabinet would consider the options for a commemoration and public holiday at its meeting on Monday.