Queen Elizabeth II latest: World leaders to visit London for funeral

London- Thousands of police, hundreds of soldiers and an army of officers made final preparations for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday – a spectacular display of national mourning that will also be the largest gathering of world leaders in years.

US President Joe Biden and other dignitaries are arriving in London for the funeral, which has invited nearly 500 royals, heads of state and government from around the world.

Thousands of people lined up round-the-clock to deposit the Queen’s coffin in the state’s Westminster Hall of Parliament, freezing night temperatures and waiting for 17 hours. The Queen’s eight grandchildren, led by the heir to the throne, Prince William, circled the coffin and stood with their heads bowed during a silent vigil on Saturday evening.

The mile-long queue for new arrivals is expected to close later on Sunday so that everyone in line can file the coffin before Monday morning, when it is borne on a gun carriage to Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s funeral. Will go

People across Britain are scheduled to stop for nationwide silence on Sunday evening to remember the Queen, who died on September 80 at the age of 96 after ascending the throne. Monday has been declared a public holiday, and the funeral will be broadcast to a huge television audience and shown to crowds in parks and public places across the country.

Read also: Royal traditions, etiquette ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

Thousands of police officers from across the country will be on duty in the biggest one-day police operation in the history of London.

The new queen consort, Camilla, paid tribute to the queen in a video message, saying the monarch had “made her own role” as a “solitary woman” on a world stage dominated by men.

“I will remember her smile forever. That smile is unforgettable,” said Camilla, who is married to King Charles III.

Crowds flocked to Westminster Hall of Parliament, where the Queen’s coffin lies in state, draped in her royal standard and capped with a diamond-encrusted crown. There has been a steady increase in the number of mourners since the public was first admitted on Wednesday, a queue that stretches for at least five miles (eight kilometers) along the banks of the River Thames and in Southwark Park, southeast of the city. is spread.

Honoring their patience, Charles and William made an unannounced visit on Saturday and greeted those in line, shaking hands and thanking mourners who queued near Lambeth Bridge.

Afterwards, all the grandchildren of the queen stood by her coffin. William and Prince Harry, Charles’ son, were joined by Princess Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips; Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and two children of Prince Edward – Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

WATCH: Tributes ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s death and her funeral

William stood with his head bowed at the head of the coffin and Harry at his feet. Both the princes, who are military veterans, were in uniform. The mourners kept recording the past in silence.

“You can see they were thinking a lot about their grandmother, the Queen,” said Ian Mockett, a civil engineer from Oxford in southern England. “Looking at what has happened over the years, it was nice to see them all together as a group of grandchildren.”

Harry, who served in Afghanistan as a British Army officer, wore civilian clothes earlier in the week as the Queen’s coffin left Buckingham Palace as he is no longer a working member of the royal family. He and his wife Meghan have quit royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020. However, the King requested that both William and Harry wear their military uniforms at Westminster Hall.

Before the vigil, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie issued a statement praising their “dear grandmother.”

More: Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on 19 September. here’s everything we know

“We, like many, thought you would be here forever. And we all miss you dearly. You were our parents, our guides, our loving hands on our backs that took us into this world You taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever,” the sisters wrote.

The Queen’s four children – Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – performed similar surveillance around the coffin on Friday.

On Friday, the silence in the hall was briefly broken when a man jumped on the coffin. London Police said on Sunday that a 28-year-old London man, Muhammad Khan, has been charged with “behavior with intent to cause alarm, harassment or distress”. He will be produced in court on Monday.

The lay-in-state continues until Monday morning, when the Queen’s coffin will be taken to nearby Westminster Abbey for a funeral, ending 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch .

Following Monday’s service at the abbey, the late Queen’s coffin will be carried from London’s historic center on a horse-drawn gun carriage. It will then be taken to Windsor, where the Queen will be buried with her late husband Prince Philip, who died last year.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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