One of the biggest diplomatic events of the century is about to take place as almost 500 dignitaries from all over the world travel to London to pay their final respects to the long-reigning monarch in British History.
At 11:00 a.m. on Monday, they will join members of the royal family, former British prime ministers, current Liz Truss, and important personalities from public life at Westminster Abbey, a medieval church with a capacity for about 2,000 people.
“This is the biggest international event we have hosted in decades,” a Whitehall source said. The source compared the logistical task to organising “hundreds of state visits” within a matter of days. Normally, there might only be two or three a year.
The event is said to pose a significant logistical, diplomatic, and security challenge, with practice runs taking place at night.
Invitations were sent to the heads of state of nations with which the UK has diplomatic relations over the weekend. Most countries define this as the head of state plus one guest.
The late queen’s four children – King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – will be present at the funeral, as well as their respective spouses: Camilla, the Queen Consort; Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Sir Tim Laurence.
Sarah Ferguson, the Duke of York’s ex-wife, is also expected to attend. The late queen’s grandchildren, Prince William, Prince Harry, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor, and James, Viscount Severn, will also attend the service.
Close family members’ spouses, including Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will also pay their respects. Queen Elizabeth II’s cousins, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, are also expected to attend the funeral service.
Monarchs from around the world will also pay their respects in London.
Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia have been confirmed as guests, as have former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofa. The attendance of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, and Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco has all been confirmed.
Other European royal families will be present, including those from Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and Greece. During her 70-year reign, Her Majesty met with countless world leaders, and many of these politicians are expected to attend her state funeral.
Ms Truss and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer will be in attendance. The service will also be attended by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and Ireland’s Prime Minister, Michael Martin.
President Joe Biden stated that he and his wife, Jill Biden, would be present. The White House confirmed on Monday that former US Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama will not be attending.
European leaders expected to attend include France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italy’s Sergio Mattarella, and Finland’s Sauli Niinisto, according to his presidential statement.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, will also be present. Other world leaders expected to attend include New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Australia’s Anthony Albanese, and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.
Australia’s Governor-General, David Hurley, and Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, will also attend. The South Korean president’s office confirmed his attendance.
A North Korean representative will be permitted to attend the funeral. After 60 years without diplomatic relations, Britain and North Korea established diplomatic relations in 2000.
However, the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, rarely travels abroad and is unlikely to attend.
The Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will be in attendance. A Japanese emperor has traditionally avoided attending funerals at home or abroad due to a Shinto religious belief that considers death impure.
The decision for Naruhito to attend the queen’s funeral emphasizes the importance and closeness of the royal families.
According to a source close to Qatar’s leadership, Emir Amir Tamim bin Hamad al Thani will also attend the funeral.
The president of Israel will be present. The prime minister, however, will not be present. Despite the absence of Iran’s Supreme Leader, the BBC’s James Lansdale confirmed that the country would be represented at the ambassadorial level.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that he would attend “if the schedule allows.”
Four Pacific Commonwealth leaders will join Australia’s Prime Minister at the Queen’s funeral. On Wednesday, shortly before midday local time, Anthony Albanese told a press conference that the leaders of the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea had accepted Australia’s assistance with transportation to London.
Governor-general David Hurley and ten Australian citizens will also be a part of the group, which is scheduled to depart on Thursday evening.
Her Majesty relied on a large number of close staff, including ladies-in-waiting and footmen, who will almost certainly be in attendance to pay their respects to the late queen. According to the PA news agency, all holders of the Victoria Cross or George Cross will be able to attend the queen’s funeral.
Russia, Belarus, and Myanmar have not received invitations to the queen’s funeral.
According to diplomatic sources, Russia was not invited due to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to The Telegraph, Venezuela and Syria were not invited because Britain does not have full diplomatic relations with them. Because of the country’s current political situation, no representatives from Afghanistan will be invited.
The seating arrangement will be finalized after the RSVP deadline on Thursday.
Source: People’s Gazette, NAN