World leaders descend on London for Queen Elizabeth II funeral – POLITICO

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LONDON — Even in dying, Queen Elizabeth II has convening energy.

World leaders together with U.S. President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron descended on the U.Ok. capital to pay their respects to the late monarch Sunday, because the nation ready to say goodbye in grand model to its head of state for seven a long time.

Leaders touched down over the weekend forward of Monday’s royal funeral, which takes place in Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m. native time earlier than a committal service later within the afternoon.

Utilizing a fast-track VIP lane, a few of these assembled joined members of the general public in Westminster Corridor to pay their respects to the queen, whose coffin is mendacity in state within the historic Palace of Westminster till Monday morning.

Biden was applauded as he and his spouse Jill arrived on the Homes of Parliament by presidential automobile. He appeared on the balcony overlooking Queen Elizabeth’s coffin, together with the primary woman, late Sunday afternoon.

The U.S. president signed the official e-book of condolences for the late monarch at Lancaster Home, and paid tribute to somebody whose loss he mentioned “leaves an enormous gap” and who reminded him of his personal mom.

He added: “Typically you assume you’ll by no means overcome it, however as I’ve informed the King, she’s going to be with him each step of the way in which, each minute, each second and that’s a reassuring notion. So to all of the individuals of England, to all of the individuals of the UK, our hearts exit to you. And also you have been lucky to have had her for 70 years, all of us have been. The world’s higher for her.”

Macron was in the meantime noticed leaving the Homes of Parliament on foot together with his spouse, and the French president informed reporters he was in London to “share the ache of the British.”

European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, and Olena Zelenska, the spouse of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have been amongst those that visited Westminster Corridor to see the queen mendacity in state.

On Sunday evening, leaders and dignitaries, together with Biden and the primary woman, will participate in a reception hosted by the brand new King Charles III.

Whereas most world leaders paid understated visits, Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan got here beneath hearth after he was caught having his image taken on the foot of the late monarch’s coffin in a breach of the strict no-phones rule in power on the lying-in-state, the Sun newspaper reported Sunday.

The funeral of the one monarch most Britons have recognized is anticipated to deliver central London to a standstill and includes the largest safety operation the capital has ever seen.

Liz Truss, who has been U.Ok. prime minister for lower than a fortnight, met the king at Buckingham Palace, and is scheduled to mark a nationwide “second of reflection” for the queen outdoors No. 10 Downing Road.

On the buses

For all the nice and cozy phrases from visiting dignitaries, there can be some notable absences in Westminster Abbey on Monday.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, often known as MBS, is now not anticipated to attend the Westminster Abbey funeral, international workplace sources told Reuters on Sunday. Riyadh is anticipated to be represented by Prince Turki bin Mohammed al Saud as a substitute. Extending an invite to Bin Salman had been controversial following the homicide of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi contained in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has not been invited.

Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron pay their respects at Westminster Corridor | Pool photograph by John Sibley/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

British organizers have additionally had a diplomatic row on their fingers over the logistics of getting a number of world leaders to an occasion on the coronary heart of the U.Ok. capital.

The British international workplace confronted a backlash after steering to abroad embassies, obtained by POLITICO, stipulated that leaders “can be required” to depart their private automobiles at a website in west London and as a substitute arrive on the funeral in shared coaches, citing safety and highway restrictions.

Final week, there have been reviews some members of Center Japanese and North African royalty have been unlikely to journey to London on account of the edict. A Kuwaiti official told the Guardian: “If the King got here to our neighbourhood, we might not put him on a bus. Anticipating agency associates of King Charles to all collect like schoolboys on a bus to go to the funeral will not be the beginning we have been anticipating. That’s why a few of us are staying away.”

Downing Road later mentioned U.S. President Biden wouldn’t need to take the bus to Westminster Abbey — a transfer that sparked anger from some nations demanding the same treatment.

But different world leaders have been extra relaxed. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Sunday the proposal “simply makes good sense.”

“I don’t assume the bus warrants an excessive amount of fuss,” she informed the BBC.

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