Monday, September 19, 2022 | 9:20 a.m.
Thousands of police officers and hundreds of British soldiers and officials on Sunday made final preparations for Monday’s funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, which promises a stunning display of national mourning and will be the biggest gathering of world leaders in years.
US President Joe Biden and other dignitaries arrived in London for the funeral, to which some 500 royals and heads of state and government from around the world were invited.
Thousands of people continued to queue throughout the day to pass the queen’s coffin in the Parliament building, braving freezing temperatures and a wait of up to 17 hours.
The queen’s eight grandchildren, led by the heir to the throne, King Charles III, stood around the coffin with bowed heads on Saturday night during a silent vigil.
The Argentine ambassador to the United Kingdom, Javier Figueroa, paid his respects this Sunday before the coffin of Isabel II and expressed “the most sincere condolences” for her death on behalf of the people and the government of Argentina.
Leaders like Biden and his wife Jill did the same later; the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, and the kings of Spain, Felipe VI and Letizia.
The father of Felipe VI, Juan Carlos I, and Queen Emeritus Sofia did not accompany their son in the funeral chapel, as they are estranged by a scandal over the fortune of the King Emeritus that put the Spanish crown in trouble.
Biden crossed himself and spent a few minutes with his wife looking at the coffin from a balcony as the authorities passed by.
The president stressed that it was “an honor” to meet the monarch, that “the world is better thanks to her,” and said that she reminded him of his mother “because of how she looked at you as if to say ‘Are you okay? Can I do something for you? What do you need?’ and then: ‘Make sure you do what you have to do'”.
“I think what he gave us is a sense that is above service, we all owe him something; there is something within our ability to do things, not only to make the world better, but to make our neighborhood better, our house, our workplace; that’s what it conveyed to me,” the US president added.
For her part, the Ukrainian first lady, Olena Zelenska, was visibly moved before the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, before being received by the Princess of Wales on her first visit to the United Kingdom, a key ally of kyiv against the Russian invasion. . She is expected to represent Volodimir Zelensky at her funeral.
The schedule of the burial of Queen Elizabeth II
The funeral will start with the transfer of the queen’s coffin from the burning chapel installed in the British Parliament, in the Westminster room, to the nearby abbey of the same name.
At 11 (7 in Argentina) the funeral service will begin, officiated by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle, and with a sermon by Justin Welby, leader of the Anglican Church, of which the King of England is the head since the break with the Vatican in the sixteenth century.
After the service, the coffin of Elizabeth II will travel in a mount pulled by sailors through the streets of London to the Wellington Arch, in Hyde Park Corner, in a procession in which 1 million people are expected.
From there he will drive to Windsor Castle, about 30 kilometers away, where a new, more familiar funeral service will take place, and his burial will take place in private.
From Saturday, 48 hours before the procession, the first people began to bet on the streets of the tour. “The night has been cold but it’s worth it,” said Carole Budd, a 65-year-old school teacher near Westminster, the AFP news agency reported.
Westminster Abbey seats 2,200 people. On the British side, the royal family, Prime Minister Liz Truss, former prime ministers and other personalities will be present.
Some 200 people decorated by the queen in June this year will also attend, including health personnel who participated in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.