Jacinda Ardern joked she was an "exceptionally poor substitute" as she stood in for Prince William at an environmental summit, as he continues to mourn his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth.
The New Zealand prime minister filled in for the Prince of Wales at the Earthshot Prize innovation summit in New York City on Wednesday (21.09.22), after she was personally asked by the Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge to step in following the queen's death on September 8th aged 96.
Speaking at the event, Ardern said: "I am an exceptionally poor substitute but I also know we all understand the need for His Royal Highness to be with his family at this time."
The Earthshot Prize - which is backed by the royal family - is a global prize for the environment, designed to incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next 10 years.
Ardern added: "My message today is one of gratitude and encouragement.
"As governments we have a responsibility to create the incentives and the space for you to flourish ... and the accountability that comes with guardianship.
"We think often of our challenges but imagine for a moment what can be achieved by channelling our potential."
Ardern attended the queen's state funeral in London on Monday (19.09.22), and last week the politician recalled she was "very nervous" when she once met the late monarch.
The 42-year-old prime minister - whose country is a constitutional monarchy and as such had Her Majesty as Sovereign - said: "I think the thing that stood out for me - I was very nervous and anxious to meet the queen.
"In the back of my mind, there were all the protocols and perhaps in New Zealand we don't have too many of those.
"I remember feeling very determined to get it right but I as soon as I got into the room I forgot everything that I was meant to be doing.
"But she still had a way of putting you at absolute ease and I think the thing that stood out to me is that you were having a conversation, and it was just that - a conversation."