Snbc13.com – US President joe Biden alongside Leaders and heads of state from across the globe have come together in central London to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, where royal pageantry was on full display to pay tribute to a monarch whose rule spanned seven decades. Around 500 foreign dignitaries, world leaders, politicians, public figures leaders of Commonwealth nations and European royals were among the 2,000 attendees.
The queen spent four days lying in state at the Palace of Westminster to allow members of the public to pay their respects. Her coffin was moved to the abbey early Monday for the state funeral service, which is scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. ET. London’s Metropolitan Police service said it was engaged in its largest policing operation ever.
Invitations were sent over the weekend to the heads of state of countries with whom the United Kingdom has diplomatic relations. Members of royal families across Europe confirmed that they were attending, including Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, and the previous Spanish king and queen, Juan Carlos and Sofia. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II and her heir, Crown Prince Frederik, were also attending. Royal households from Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium all confirmed that they were traveling to London for the funeral, according to Reuters. Monarchs attending from outside Europe include Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.
The list of leaders who attended the state funeral was long, and included leadership across the Commonwealth and around the world. Representatives of Syria, Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Venezuela were absent. Pope Francis has said he will not be present at the funeral service and will instead send a senior representative from the Vatican. For most nations with an invitation, attendance extended to the head of state plus a guest. Biden arrived separately from many of the dignitaries, accompanied by first lady Jill Biden.
Following Monday’s state funeral, the coffin will be conveyed from the hall to Wellington Arch before making its final journey out of London to Windsor. The Queen’s journey will end at St. George’s Chapel, within the grounds of Windsor Castle, where her coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault below the chapel.
Biden was one of the few world leaders to arrive in his own motorcade at the Queen’s funeral, but for the last 10 days, his aides have worked behind the scenes to ensure he had as small of a footprint as possible while she was laid to rest. Biden is scheduled to fly back to Washington on Monday afternoon after the funeral. During their brief visit to London, the President and first lady Jill Biden paid their respect to the Queen as she was lying in state, signed condolence books and attended a reception with other leaders and King Charles III.
The service was conducted by the Rev. David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster, at Westminster Abbey. UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary General, read lessons. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered a sermon. Toward the end of the service, the Last Post sounded before a two-minute silence was observed. The state funeral was brought to a conclusion by the Queen’s Piper, who played a Reveille, the National Anthem and a Lament.
The funeral takes place the same week world leaders are slated to convene for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where Biden will hold his first bilateral meeting with Truss on Wednesday.
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