Thursday 15 September 2022; London, United Kingdom

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has verbally  invited  Papua New Guinea’s Head of State, His Majesty King Charles III, to officiate at the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary in three years’ time.

In a  conversation that demonstrated the King’s familiarity and fondness of PNG, King Charles replied to the invitation by saying that he should brush up his Pidgin to be sure and that he hold Papua New Guinea very much in his heart.

The telephone conversation is a precursor to the in-person meeting the King will soon have with the Prime Minister as part of the events marking the funeral of HM the late Queen Elizabeth II. It was made by the King directly to the Prime Minister to advise him of the change in meeting dates from 16th to 17th September between the two leaders.

As Prime Minister Marape met his staff of the PNG High Commission office in London over a small ‘kaikai’ to mark his arrival in the UK and PNG’s Independence Anniversary, the call was put through from Buckingham Palace to him.

Here is an excerpt of the transcript:

PMJM: It is not a good time to talk to you now, in the passing of our Queen. But I am happy that you have visited Papua New Guinea four times. We are very fond of you. It is a sad time that you have taken the throne, and I am here to witness your ascension as well as be part of the occasion where we lay your mother, our beloved Queen, to rest.

KCIII: It is so good of you to come all the way with your being busy with so many other things. I heard you had a terrible earthquake.

PMJM: Yes, we had an earthquake. But our Queen is the Head of State of Papua New Guinea. You were there 47 years ago when we gained Independence and it is really an honour and privilege to represent your people in Papua New Guinea to mark both Her Majesty’s passing and Your Majesty’s ascension to the throne.

KCIII: It gives me great comfort and reassurance to know you and other members will be here to mark this great sorrow we all face.

And as you say, I have particularly fond memories of being in Papua New Guinea. I cannot thank you enough for the kind and wonderful tribute that you and others have made to the Queen. It is truly touching to me to hear and read what people have been saying. Thank you.

PMJM: Your Majesty, the privilege is ours. She served us very well in the last 70 years she was on the throne. For PNG, the last 47 years; we remember very well your coming to Port Moresby on 16th September 1975. Well, it is 16th September 2022 as I am talking to you as the King of Papua New Guinea, the Commonwealth and her realms.

KCIII: I shall do my utmost best for you all. I know the kind of challenges you face – climate change and global warming. We must find ways; we have to tackle it.

I look forward to having a word with you, hopefully, in a day or two. In the meantime, thank you so much for your kindness. I am very touched.

PMJM: Your Majesty, if you don’t mind. In three years’ time, your country Papua New Guinea will be celebrating 50 years of Independence. I would like to, on behalf of your people in PNG, place a call to you, if you can be our chief guest on that occasion. I know you are a very busy man but if Your Majesty can be gracious enough to be with us in Papua New Guinea.

KCIII: That’s so kind of you, I shall see what I can do. I should have to brush up my Pidgin to make sure. But many, many thanks and my kindest thoughts and wishes to you. I absolutely love Papua New Guinea, which I hold very much in my heart.