LONDON: Hundreds of royals and foreign leaders are expected to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London on Monday in one of the largest diplomatic gatherings in decades.
Westminster Abbey seats about 2,000 people, so it is reported that heads of state and only one or two guests have been invited to Britain’s first state funeral in six decades.
Meanwhile, a few states were not invited to the funeral due to political considerations – sparking an outburst of anger in at least one case.
Here are some of the main guests, and some who didn’t write the list:
– Kings of the world –
A group of royals from Europe and beyond have confirmed their attendance at the funeral of one of the world’s most well-served monarchs.
Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako are coming on their first overseas trip since they took the throne in 2019. It also marks a departure from Japanese tradition that rarely sees the emperor attending funerals.
Europe’s royal families are closely related after centuries of intermingling their dynasties, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see many of the continent’s kings in worship.
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Queen Maxima, Crown Princess Beatrix, King Philip of Belgium, King Harald V of Norway and Prince Albert II of Monaco will attend.
Also coming will be Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, who canceled a series of events marking her fiftieth jubilee after the death of her third cousin, Queen Elizabeth.
Spain’s King Felipe VI will also be present – as will his father, former King Juan Carlos I, who abdicated in 2014 and is now living in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.
– Global leaders –
US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden are heading up the list of diplomatic guests, after the White House confirmed they would attend the funeral.
Unlike some other leaders who were required to attend buses arranged by the British government, Biden reportedly obtained permission to use his armored presidential limousine, known as The Beast.
The Elysee said French President Emmanuel Macron would also attend to show the “unbreakable” relationship with Britain and respect for the “eternal queen”.
Among the other commanders allowed to use their own transport, British officials said.
Strong leaders will also come from Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Jair Bolsonaro from Brazil.
And despite Britain’s divorce from the European Union over Brexit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel will also attend.
Other heads of state at the funeral included Italian Presidents Sergio Mattarella, Frank Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Isaac Herzog of Israel and Yoon Suk Yeol of Korea.
In a symbolic move to pay tribute to the Queen whose 2011 state visit helped address decades of tensions, Taoiseach Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin will attend.
– Leaders of kingdoms and Commonwealth countries –
Many of the leaders will come from countries that still consider Elizabeth II to be their own and from members of the 56-nation Commonwealth.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose countries enjoy British sovereignty as their head of state, are due to come.
Mainly from the Commonwealth of the former British colonies, leaders will come including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
– uninvited –
A British government source said Russia and Belarus are among a small group of countries that will be excluded from the Queen’s funeral after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin – who has imposed a travel ban on the UK due to the sanctions – had already said he would not attend.
On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said that not inviting any Russian representatives to the Queen’s funeral was “particularly blasphemous towards the memory of Elizabeth II” and “extremely immoral”.
The British source, who asked not to be identified, said military-run Myanmar, the former British colony and longtime pariah North Korea had been ignored.