Liz Truss’s government will host the largest gathering of foreign leaders and dignitaries in London in decades, as they arrive in the capital on Monday for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and India’s President Draupadi Murmu are among those in attendance.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will also be in office.
The service, which will conclude the 10-day national mourning period, will take place at Westminster Abbey in the heart of the capital and will be attended by about 2,000 people.
The presence of heads of state, representatives of foreign governments, foreign royal families and the governor-general will raise major organizational and security questions.
A senior cabinet minister said: “Whitehall has been planning funerals for decades, but this is the most complicated logistical occasion you can imagine.”
As well as VIP dignitaries, attendees will include senior parliamentarians and peers, bishops and representatives of charities supported by the late monarch, as well as recipients of British awards for gallantry such as the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.
Nearly 200 people who were recognized in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honors have also been invited, including community volunteers and other emergency service workers, as well as those who have made exceptional contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Huh.
Although there will be no formal bilateral meeting due to the period of national mourning, the truce is expected to host several meetings.
Truss was expected to meet with Biden on Sunday, but the pair will have their first formal bilateral meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City later this week.
Britain’s prime minister met Albany and Ardern at their country residence in Checkers in Buckinghamshire on Saturday. On Sunday, she was due to meet Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau in Downing Street.
Royal figures in attendance will also include Emperors Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, King Philip and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, and King Harald V and Queen Sona of Norway.
Foreign dignitaries will gather ahead of the event at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, before traveling in shared vehicles to the Abbey.
Only a handful of world leaders – including those from Russia, Belarus and Myanmar – were not invited, reflecting the war in Ukraine and the lack of full diplomatic ties with the UK.
No representatives from Syria, Venezuela or Afghanistan were asked to attend, while North Korea and Nicaragua have only been invited at the ambassadorial level.
Conservative lawmakers and peers expressed concern that Chinese President Xi Jinping had been invited, although it is likely that Vice President Wang Qishan will represent the country.
Beijing imposed last year nine persons bannedThat includes five Tory MPs and four organizations in Britain – in retaliation for the UK’s decision to ban some Chinese officials.
Former Tory Party leader Ian Duncan Smith, one of the five accepted lawmakers, said it was “surprising” that China was invited given its “huge record of human rights abuses”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan will be represented by the country’s foreign minister, while European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen is scheduled to attend.
Due to the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is not expected, but First Lady Olena Zelenska is set to attend.
The state funeral service, which will begin at 11 a.m. and last about an hour, will be conducted by Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster.
At the start of the service, the choir of Westminster Abbey, joined by the choir of the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, would sing five sentences – lines of scripture to music.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will deliver a sermon, and Truss and Baroness Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary General, will read lessons from the Corinthians and St John’s Gospel. Lessons will be followed by a specially commissioned setting of the hymn “Like the Heart” and the hymn “The Lord is my shepherd”.
Other hymns to be played would include “The day you gave, Lord, is coming to an end” and “Love is divine, the transcendental choice of all”.
After the service the Queen’s coffin will be taken to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner on the way to Windsor Castle, where a Commitment Service will take place at 4 p.m. It will be led by David Conner, Dean of Windsor. The rector of Sandringham, ministers to Crathy Kirk near Balmoral, and the clergy of the Royal Chapel in Windsor – representing some of the Queen’s favorite residences – will pray.
A private funeral will take place on Monday evening at the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle and the late monarch will be buried with her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.