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UK: World leaders arrive in London for Queen’s funeral

Foreign guests invited to attend the funeral celebrations of the late Queen Elizabeth II will be arriving in London on Sunday. The first delegations have already arrived on Saturday evening.

In addition to the British royal family, friends and close associates of Elizabeth II, as well as courtiers, some 500 foreign dignitaries have been invited to attend the Queen’s funeral. The list of those who will attend the ceremony has been in flux in recent days – some decisions on the composition of foreign delegations were only made on Saturday.

Presidents and Prime Ministers:

The funeral will be attended by the heads of government of British Commonwealth countries. In some of them, the British monarch is still a head of state.

The Prime Ministers of Australia (Anthony Albanese), Canada (Justin Trudeau) and New Zealand (Jacinda Ardern) will attend the ceremony. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe are also expected to be present. India, on the other hand, will be represented by President Draupadi Murmu.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II served for her entire life, and bore the weight of her duties with impeccable grace. Sophie and I are in London for Her Majesty’s funeral – and today, we marked the solemn occasion by signing the book of condolences. (Photo: David Parry/PA Wire)

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 17, 2022

Heads of state from Poland, France, Germany and Italy, among others, will also attend the Queen’s funeral.

Poland will be represented by President Andrzej Duda, who travels to London on Sunday with First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda. The President is due to meet the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss, as well as pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at the coffin on display in Westminster Hall.

As the British media reported a few days ago, Ukraine will be represented by First Lady Olena Zelenska, who will make her way back to Ukraine immediately after the ceremony. In turn, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen will arrive in London on behalf of the European Union.

The Saudi Arabian embassy has confirmed the presence of the heir to the throne Mohammed bin Salman, which has been criticised in the British press over his role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The world’s major powers, the United States and China, will be represented at different levels. China’s leader Xi Jinping received an invitation to the funeral, but this sparked a wave of criticism in the UK. Beijing announced on Saturday that the country would be represented by Vice President Wang Qishan.

From the US, on the other hand, President Joe Biden and his wife Jill had already arrived on Saturday, late in the evening. On Sunday, the Presidential Couple will pray at the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall and be received by Charles III at Buckingham Palace.

Joe Biden Arrives in London for Queen’s Funeral
Biden is among 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries in London for a gathering of world leaders not seen for decades.

— ARISE NEWS (@ARISEtv) September 18, 2022


Monarchs from Belgium (King Philip and Queen Mathilde), the Netherlands (King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and former Queen Beatrix), Spain (King Philip and Queen Letizia), as well as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Monaco have confirmed their attendance at the funeral.

Emperor Naruhito of Japan also set off for London on Saturday with Empress Masako. This is the emperor’s first overseas visit since ascending to the Japanese throne in 2019. Traditionally, Japanese monarchs do not attend funerals, either at home or abroad. The exception that Naruhito and his wife will make in the case of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral reflects the close ties between the two families, royal and imperial.

#NEW Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako arrived yesterday evening at London Stansted Airport ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral and today’s reception at Buckingham Palace 🇯🇵🇬🇧

The couple was then driven to Claridge's Hotel in London. It’s so lovely to see Masako travelling

— We Love Vivacharawongse Royal Family (@Welovevivachara) September 18, 2022

Personae non gratae

Among the countries that did not receive an invitation to the Queen’s funeral are Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan and Myanmar. The presidents of Russia and Belarus were not invited as well due to the invasion of Ukraine.

According to the BBC reports, the heads of state of North Korea and Nicaragua have also not received their invitations – these countries may instead be represented at the ceremony by their ambassadors. Iran is also to be represented at ambassador level.

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96. She sat on the British throne for 70 years. Her funeral on Monday will be one of the largest gatherings of heads of state in one place in British history. Up to 4 billion people worldwide, i.e. half the global population, are expected to follow the celebrations.

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