Ardern granted audience with King Charles

·2-min read

A "humbled" Jacinda Ardern will visit the Queen lying in state while in London representing New Zealand at memorial events for the monarch.

However, she will be spared a lengthy spell in the eight kilometre queue, with dignitaries offered a pass to skip the long wait.

Ms Ardern landed in the United Kingdom overnight ahead of Monday's state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II.

"I've only been here a few hours but I can already see what you've been observing for many days ... this is a nation in mourning," she told journalists.

"Being here and seeing it in person, you can just see the sheer scale of this period for the United Kingdom."

The New Zealand prime minister will meet with King Charles III on Saturday afternoon local time (Sunday morning AEST), saying she intended to keep her comments straightforward.

"I'll simply share the sorrow that New Zealand has, and pass on our deepest condolences," she said.

"At the end of the day, although this is a period of transition for him, he has also lost his beloved mother. For us and New Zealand that's first and foremost."

A vast array of heads of state and government are expected to arrive in London over the weekend, including US President Joe Biden.

At least eight other royal families are sending representatives, including Australian-born Danish Crown Princess Mary.

Speaking prior to her departure, Ms Ardern said she would be "looking for ways that we can maximise the time on behalf of New Zealand, whilst of course doing (our) primary job which is to pay our respects to the loss of our head of state".

World leaders and dignitaries were offered the chance to view the Queen's coffin at Westminster Hall, which Ms Ardern said she intended to do.

"That appears to be a deeply moving process for those who are gathering for many, many hours in order to pay their respects," she said.

"I feel very humbled at the opportunity to be here on behalf of New Zealand, to be a part of what is a very sad but a very historic occasion here. I feel a great weight of responsibility."

Ms Ardern said she would also meet with Britain's new prime minister Liz Truss, and Prince William - now the Prince of Wales - repaying his efforts in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch Mosques terror attacks.

"I remember so well after March 15 the effort he made, to come to New Zealand, to meet with us, to visit with those affected," she said.

"The Prince of Wales has always been there for New Zealand in its time of grief."

Ms Ardern will leave London on Monday night, travelling to the United Nations to represent New Zealand at the start of the 77th session of the General Assembly.