I’ve been trying to think of the last time a NZ Prime Minister (and their family) was invited to stay at Balmoral, and I can’t recall it ever happening before.
The Queen has had 14 New Zealand Prime Ministers during her reign, and according to media reports Key is the first to ever be invited. He even had the 87 year old Monarch drive him around the estate!
The UK PM does get invited regularly, but it is a first for a NZ PM, and I think possibly for an Australian or Canadian PM also.
The question is why was Key invited, when no other NZ PM has been? He is not the longest serving.
I think it is purely the strength of their personal relationship. I recall when in 2008 the Herald profiled Key and spoke to former colleagues and competitors. Despite working in a cut throat industry, no one had a bad word to say about him. Likewise in the job as PM, he has struck up warm personal (on top of the purely professional) relationships with Julia Gillard, David Cameron and it seems the Queen (and Prince William).Tags: John Key, Queen Elizabeth II