Five years after their engagement, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has married her long-term partner Clarke Gayford. The top-secret ceremony took place under high security today in the popular Hawke's Bay wine region on the North Island, New Zealand media reported.
In photos, the couple could be seen holding hands between rows of vines. Ardern wore a long white halter dress and a bridal veil, Gayford wore a black suit and tie. According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper and the news site Stuff, only family members, close friends and a few politicians were invited, including Ardern's successor and former prime minister Chris Hipkins. New Zealand media had speculated for weeks about the possible details of the ceremony, but little information had been made public.
The couple announced their engagement in May 2019, a year after their daughter Neve was born. The wedding was planned for January 2022, but due to the strict requirements during the corona pandemic, the wedding had to be postponed indefinitely. “That’s life,” Ardern said at the time. TV presenter Gayford (46) and Ardern (43) are said to have met at an official event in Auckland in 2012. But they didn't become a couple until some time later.
Surprising resignation in 2023
Jacinda Ardern was Prime Minister of the Pacific state from 2017 until her surprising resignation at the beginning of 2023. She said at the time that she lacked the strength to continue as Prime Minister. When she took office, she was the youngest head of government in the world at the time. Because of her empathetic nature, the politician had also made a name for herself internationally.
In particular, her handling of the bloody attacks in Christchurch in 2019 brought her a lot of recognition. At that time, a right-wing extremist shot 51 Muslims in two mosques.
Ardern has now taken on several roles outside of politics, for example at the renowned US University of Harvard, in combating terrorism and in climate protection. When she resigned last year, she said: "Clarke, let's finally get married!"