Reddy tells Harry, Meghan is thinking about New Zealand
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The Queen’s representative to New Zealand said Prince Harry and Meghan discussed moving to the South Pacific country during their visit in 2018, more than a year before that the couple did not retire from their royal duties and move to the United States.
Governor General Patsy Reddy also told The Associated Press in an interview that she believes the British monarch should remain New Zealand’s head of state and described the typed letters she sends to the Queen. Elizabeth II.
Reddy, 67, will step down from her largely ceremonial role of representing the Queen in New Zealand in October after a 5-year term. A lawyer who received the Lady Honorary for her services to the arts and business, Reddy officially signs bills, presides over many public ceremonies and tours the country, meeting with various groups including indigenous Maori.
Harry and Meghan visited New Zealand at the end of an eventful 16-day royal tour of the South Pacific, and Reddy recalled the couple were tired.
“I remember they had just gone to Abel Tasman National Park when we sat down and had a drink, and they said they could imagine living in a place like this and wondered if we thought it would be theoretically possible. Even possible for them to have a place in New Zealand.
“Of course we said, ‘Of course. It would be good. There are a lot of opportunities to live in New Zealand, but it would be something they should explore, ”said Reddy. “They were looking for how they could raise their families. And, of course, they’ve made decisions since then.
Reddy said she doesn’t see this as a formal request for help, but rather an informal discussion of the couple’s hopes for the future. She said the couple seemed impressed with the access to the outdoors and their interactions with New Zealanders.
Still, the discussion shows the couple were considering options outside of Britain less than six months after their wedding and long before their eventual move to the United States.
During a much-watched interview with Oprah Winfrey near the couple’s California home earlier this year, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, mentioned that they offered the Royal Family to take a step back by relation to royal life in a Commonwealth country such as South Africa or New Zealand.
Reddy said she watched the interview but didn’t want to comment on the Royal Family’s internal affairs.
“I thought they were a lovely couple and I hope they have a great future where they are,” said Reddy.
She said she regularly expresses her confidential views to the Queen about what is happening in New Zealand, such as the country’s response to the pandemic. She said the communication “is quite touching the old fashioned way, by letter.”
“She told me the times I’ve seen her that she finds it interesting to have a personal perspective on what’s going on,” Reddy said. “As she says, ‘I like to know what’s going on between the lines.'”
Many people in New Zealand believe the country should become an independent republic, but Reddy said she believes the Queen should remain head of state because the arrangement is working and has strong historical ties.
She said New Zealand has a special connection to the monarchy because its founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed by the Maori and Queen Victoria’s representative.
Asked about a future scenario in which a monarch could turn out to be dictatorial or autocratic, Reddy said the same scenario with an elected president would likely be worse.
“We’ve seen how it doesn’t work in other countries around the world,” she said. “But actually, because the monarch is much more of a theoretical construct, a figurehead rather than an actual ruler, I think it gives us a measure of security, of constitutional security.”
Reddy said she agreed with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s assessment that there is currently little appetite among New Zealanders for constitutional change, and that people are concerned about more pressing issues. like climate change, inequality and the pandemic.
She said she believes the royals have been great role models during the pandemic, using the internet and social media wisely and strictly following the rules imposed by the UK government.
“So we tragically saw Prince Philip’s funeral, where they could only have 30 mourners,” Reddy said. “But there was no doubt that there would be some waiver, even isolation requirements, when, for example, Prince Harry returned to that funeral.”
Reddy said she watched the Netflix series “The Crown”.
“I enjoyed it as a historical drama,” she said. “Its production values and some great characterizations, I think. But, you know, it’s not real life, is it?
She rebuffed the negative portrayal of Prince Charles, saying she believed he would be a good monarch.
“I was immensely impressed with the breadth of her knowledge, the depth of her thoughtful perceptions on a range of subjects,” she said. “From town planning to the environment, to the impact of religions on the world.”
Children’s advocate Cindy Kiro has been appointed by Ardern to succeed Reddy. Kiro, who is also a Lady, is the first indigenous woman appointed to this post.