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Hundreds of royals and foreign heads of state are expected to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London on Monday for one of the biggest diplomatic gatherings in decades.

Westminster Abbey can accommodate around 2,000 people. Around 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries and their partners are expected, according to reports from the BBC and Sky News.

Members of the Queen’s family, courtiers, public figures and British politicians will also attend the first British state funeral in six decades.

world royalty

A host of royals from Europe and beyond have confirmed their attendance at the funeral of Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will attend – their first overseas trip since assuming the throne in 2019. The visit marks a break with Japanese tradition, which rarely sees the emperor attend funerals.

The royal families of Europe are intertwined after centuries of mixing their lines, so it will come as no surprise to see multiple monarchs from the continent.

King Harald V of Norway, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Philippe, King of the Belgians will all be present.

Also arriving is Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who canceled a series of events marking her 50th jubilee following the d*ath of her third cousin Queen Elizabeth.

The King of Spain Felipe VI will be present with his wife Queen Letizia. So will his father, former King Juan Carlos I, who abdicated in disgrace in 2014 and now lives in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.

Although Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and its de facto ruler, was invited, it emerged on Sunday evening that he would not be present.

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey by Saudi agents in 2018 sparked international outrage.

World Leaders

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife Olena seems likely to be in attendance, after visiting the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall on Sunday.

US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill topped the list of diplomatic guests and flew to Britain late on Saturday, also paying their respects in front of the coffin on Sunday.

Unlike some other leaders who were invited to come on coaches organized by the British government, Biden was reportedly allowed to use his armored presidential limousine, known as The Beast.

French President Emmanuel Macron will be present, the Elysee said, to show the “unbreakable” bond with Britain and pay tribute to the “eternal queen”.

He is also among the leaders allowed to use their own transport, British officials said.

Authoritarian presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are also arriving.

China will send its vice president, Wang Qishan, at the invitation of the British government.

Despite Britain’s divorce from the European Union, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel will also go.

Other heads of state attending the funeral will include Presidents Sergio Mattarella of Italy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Isaac Herzog of Israel and Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea.

In a symbolic gesture to pay tribute to the Queen, whose 2011 state visit to the Republic of Ireland helped ease decades of tension over Northern Ireland’s position in the UK, the Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin will be present.

Commonwealth countries

Many leaders will come from countries where Queen Elizabeth was the head of state.

Among them are Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Leaders will also come from other Commonwealth states of 56 nations, of which Queen Elizabeth was the symbolic figurehead.

Among them are South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

Not invited

Due to strained ties, the UK chose to invite ambassadors, not heads of state, from several countries – Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea.

Russia and Belarus are among a small group of nations left out altogether after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin – under a UK travel ban due to sanctions – had previously said he would not attend.

But not inviting a Russian representative to the queen’s funeral was “particularly blasphemous to the memory of Elizabeth II” and “deeply immoral”, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman in Moscow said on Thursday.

Russia and Belarus have embassies in London and their presidents have sent messages of condolence to King Charles III.

Other countries without invitations are Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

(AFP)

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