Royal Snub to NZ's national hero Sir Edmund Hillary

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Edinburgh, Jan 19 : In what is seen as a snub to New Zealand's national hero Sir Edmund Hillary, whose conquest of Mt. Everest brought fame to his country, no member from the country's Royal Family will be present at the mountaineer's state funeral in Auckland on Tuesday.

In a bid to give a prior explanation to it, the country's Prime Minister Helen Clark said that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, both of whom were in their eighties, could not be expected to undertake a 26-hour flight from London to Auckland at a short notice, reported the Times Online.

New Zealand's head of state will be represented by Anand Satyanand, her Governor General, who is her resident representative in the country, said the paper.

Hillary had died in Auckland last week at 88.

In a rather sharp reaction to the Royal snub, Lewis Holden, chairman of the New Zealand Republican Movement, which favours severing the country's link with the monarchy, said that the decision not to attend Sir Edmund's funeral in person showed that the Royal Family "was not able to do the job for New Zealand".


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