Prince William and Jacinda Ardern's 'emotional photo' captures world's attention

An image of Prince William and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as "emotional" has been published across the world. 

The image, taken by Mark Tantrum for the New Zealand Government, shows the Prime Minister greeting the Duke of Cambridge in Auckland with a traditional Māori hongi. 

The pair attended the Auckland Anzac Day civic service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Thursday, amid William's two-day visit to commemorate the victims of the March 15 Christchurch terror attack. 

The image of the Duke and Prime Minister has gone viral, with publications including Business Insider, The Guardian, CNN and The Daily Mail publishing stories about the "emotional photo". 

"An emotional photo captured the moment that Prince William gave New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a traditional Māori greeting as he paid tribute to the victims of the Christchurch attacks," Business Insider reported. 

The Guardian said: "The pair shared an intimate hongi [Māori nose press] and espoused the values of freedom, democracy, and peace where they attended a service in Auckland before travelling to Christchurch to meet with survivors."

The image was taken by Mark Tantrum for the New Zealand Government.
The image was taken by Mark Tantrum for the New Zealand Government. Photo credit: Getty

Ardern called for a commitment to peace in her Anzac Day speech, and was emotional as she spoke to the assembled, with the Christchurch terror attack still fresh in her mind.

"Let us recommit to those simple values of freedom, democracy and peace. Just as we have never taken for granted the loss of life by those who served on our behalf, so too must we never take for granted these principles."

William is not the first royal to make headlines for embracing New Zealand tradition. His sister-in-law, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, was also photographed last year while being greeted with a hongi. 

She partook in the traditional Māori greeting with several New Zealanders at the opening of the Oceania exhibit at London's Royal Academy of Arts in September. 

She and her husband, Prince Harry, visited New Zealand in October. 

The Duke of Cambridge was in Christchurch on Friday where he has met with victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings, which left 50 people dead after a lone gunman opened fire. 

Speaking about the moment he found out about the attack, Prince William said he "could not believe the news". 

"I do not believe grief changes who you are. Grief, if you let it, will reveal who you are. In a moment of acute pain, you stood up and stood together."