Several world leaders, members of European royal families, and former British prime ministers are expected to attend Queen Elizabeth ||’s state funeral on September 19 at Westminster Abbey in London.
What plans are in the works?
The gathering of the world’s most powerful leaders at the same location on the same day can turn into a security nightmare for the various security services involved in making funeral arrangements. However, some of the requests and demands made by the UK government for those attending the funeral were, to say the least, unusual.
According to Politico, which reported on the details of the state funeral, world leaders have been urged to fly to Heathrow International Airport on commercial flights rather than government planes. According to the report, they will also be prohibited from using helicopters or state cars to travel to the funeral site. They will instead be transported to Westminster Abbey in “escorted coaches.”
According to the report, world leaders have also been asked to bring only their spouses or partners to the state funeral. The historic Abbey, which has a limited dating capacity of 2,000, cannot accommodate any other member of their family or staff.
According to the report, the UK Foreign Office has promised “multiple layers of security” at all sites associated with the state funeral.
On the evening of September 18, King Charles ||| will host a reception at Buckingham Palace for world leaders attending the state funeral.
Who will be there?
While US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have formally accepted the invitation to attend the funeral, according to the White House, no invitation has been extended to any of the former living US Presidents, including Barack Obama, George W Bush, and Jimmy Carter.
Biden’s trip to the United Kingdom is a departure from his previous plans, which called for him to travel to New York from September 18 to 20 to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and European Commission President Ursula vonder Leyen are among those expected to attend the funeral.
The royal families of the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden are also expected to attend the funeral.
Will Biden be subject to the same restrictions as other world leaders?
It is unclear whether the UK’s travel restrictions will apply to Biden, as the US president has never travelled without Air Force One. The President never travels to another country without his famous state car, dubbed “The Beast,” which is transported in the hold of his customised Boeing 747.
And will Vladimir Putin be there?
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be conspicuously absent from the event. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, relations between the UK and Russia have deteriorated. While Russia is expected to send a representative to the funeral, Putin, who had previously expressed condolences over the Queen’s death and wished King Charles ||| “courage and resilence,” will not attend, according to the Kremlin.