After nearly five years of courtship and postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern married her longtime partner Clarke Gifford in a private ceremony on Saturday.
The couple has kept the details of the event closely guarded, but the ceremony is said to have been held at a luxury vineyard in scenic Hawke's Bay, 200 miles from New Zealand's capital, Wellington.
Only family, close friends and a few of the 43-year-old Ardern's former MP colleagues are believed to have been invited, including Ardern's successor and former Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
Earlier, police met a small group of protesters who had pasted dozens of anti-vaccination posters on the wall outside the venue.
A protester was also seen carrying a sign reading “so we don’t forget the strike orders” on the outskirts of the property.
Ardern and Gifford, 47, reportedly began dating in 2014 and were engaged five years later, but due to the Ardern government's COVID-19 restrictions limiting gatherings to 100 people, the wedding planned for the summer was postponed. Southern Hemisphere 2022.
“That's life,” Ardern said at the time of the decision to cancel the wedding. “I'm no different, dare I say, to thousands of other New Zealanders.”
Only 37 years old when Ardern became leader in 2017, she quickly became a global icon for the left.
She embodied a new style of leadership and has won praise around the world for her handling of the country's worst-ever mass shooting and the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2018, Ardern became the second elected world leader to give birth while in office. Later that year, she brought her infant daughter to the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York.
New Zealand, under the Ardern government, had some of the strictest coronavirus mandates in the world, which led to several rallies during her final year as prime minister.
It also led to a level of vitriol from some not seen by previous New Zealand leaders.
Ardern shocked New Zealanders in January 2023 when she said she would step down after five-and-a-half years as prime minister because she no longer had “sufficient resources” to deliver justice in an election year.
Ardern has since announced that she will be temporarily joining Harvard after being appointed to dual fellowships at Harvard's Kennedy School.
She has also taken on an unpaid role in combating online extremism.
In June, Ardern received one of New Zealand's highest honors for her service in leading the country through mass shootings and the pandemic.
She has been given the title of Grand Companion, meaning people will now call her Dame Jacinda Ardern.
“Travel specialist. Typical social media scholar. Friend of animals everywhere. Freelance zombie ninja. Twitter buff.”