For the gigantic act of state, the police, secret services and anti-terrorist units in Great Britain are coordinating one of the largest security operations that the capital has ever experienced. Over 10,000 members of the British military are said to be deployed. “It’s huge,” Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Tony Radakin told the BBC. Countless monarchs and heads of state and government from all over the world have arrived, and King Charles III welcomed them on Sunday evening. (73) the state guests in Buckingham Palace, including Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen.
US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill had previously personally said goodbye to Elizabeth II at her coffin laid out in the British Parliament. Television images showed the Democratic politician and the US First Lady silently watching the coffin from a podium on the edge of Westminster Hall early Sunday evening. Biden praised the Queen as “decent” and “honourable”. “It’s a loss that leaves a huge hole,” he said of her death after writing a book of condolences.
The Queen’s Funeral: A Look Ahead
The death of Queen Elizabeth II has put London in a state of emergency. The big state funeral will take place on Monday. Hundreds of heads of state and government and royalty from all over the world are taking part, many of whom are already at a reception at Buckingham Palace on Sunday. Around a million people are expected.
Charles and William paid a visit to those waiting
The day before, Charles and his son Prince William had shown themselves very close to the people. The two paid a surprise visit to those waiting in line. The crowd greeted her on Saturday with applause, cheers and shouts of “God save the King”. And celebrities also wanted to take a look at the coffin. Ex-soccer star David Beckham lined up in line on Friday.
Meanwhile, an incident on Friday evening caused a brief moment of shock. A man ran towards the coffin but was quickly arrested. In view of the masses of mourners, the British Ministry of Culture called on Sunday to stop queuing for the Queen’s coffin. “To avoid disappointment, do not drive to join the queue,” the ministry wrote on Twitter.
The Queen’s children and eight grandchildren held a 15-minute wake at the coffin on Saturday. Exceptionally, Prince Harry was also allowed to wear a military uniform for the occasion. Although the 38-year-old had served in Afghanistan, he is otherwise denied this because of his retirement from the royal family.
“Queen didn’t want boring services”
The Queen died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, aged 96. Her coffin was to remain in state in Westminster Hall – the oldest part of the British Parliament – until early Monday morning.
The monarch had certain ideas for her funeral, according to former Archbishop of York John Sentamu. “The Queen does not and did not want what you call long, boring services,” he told the BBC. You told him that personally.
2,000 people invited to the funeral
About 2,000 people are invited to the state act. Numerous representatives of the European nobility have been announced for the funeral, as well as Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, Germany’s Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, US President Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen A government official told the BBC the effort was comparable to 100 state visits in a matter of days.
Several states with which Britain has poor or no relations have not received an invitation. The most striking is the absence of Russia. The participation of the Japanese Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako is considered a special honor. Traditionally, Japanese monarchs do not actually attend funerals, either at home or abroad.
However, it should cause astonishment that Naruhito, like most guests of honour, is supposed to travel to Westminster Abbey by bus. This should help to avoid traffic chaos. As the BBC reported, there are said to be very few exceptions, such as for US President Biden and Israeli President Izchak Herzog.
Commemorated with the Queen’s minute’s silence
The people of Great Britain and the Commonwealth commemorated their late Queen with a minute’s silence on Sunday evening. At 8:00 p.m. sharp (local time), the program on TV and radio stations fell silent. Prime Minister Liz Truss and her husband Hugh O’Leary celebrated the commemoration outside the famous black door of 10 Downing Street, the seat of government. In churches, clubhouses and at home, too, many people took the opportunity to reflect on the life and work of the late monarch.
In a recorded video message, King Consort Camilla said: “She was always part of our lives.” She herself could not remember anyone else at the top, Camilla said – and appreciated the Queen’s charisma: “I will always remember her smile. Your smile is unforgettable.”
After the service in the famous Westminster Abbey on Monday, the actual burial will not take place in London but in Windsor to the west, where the coffin will be driven. The Queen is to receive her final resting place in the evening at a private funeral in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle – alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year.