Leaders gather in London to bid farewell to the Queen
World leaders will gather in London this weekend to bid farewell to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The Queen’s state funeral is Monday.
Trudeau, after being entered in the condolence register, said the Queen had “served all her life, bearing the weight of her obligations with impeccable grace”. US President Joe Biden also arrived in London on Saturday evening. He is expected to visit Westminster Hall on Sunday with the monarch’s coffin.
On Sunday evening, the new King Charles III. hosted dozens of foreign officials and dignitaries at Buckingham Palace. The funeral service will be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday with more than 2,000 invited guests. Germany is represented by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Hundreds of thousands of citizens have been parading past the coffin of the queen, who died at the age of 96, since Wednesday evening. The mourners accepted gigantic waiting times, sometimes more than 24 hours.
According to the London Ambulance Service, 435 people waiting had to receive medical treatment by Saturday — many with head injuries when they passed out and fell. Westminster Hall containing the Queen’s casket will remain open to the public until 6:30 am local time (7:30 am CEST) Monday morning.
Charles III surprised on Saturday. and his son Prince William queuing people for a visit. The crowd cheered the king and his eldest son as they thanked the mourners for their condolences.
Disruption broke out at Westminister Hall on Friday night as a man broke the line and approached the Queen’s casket. He has been arrested, according to police reports. The live TV broadcast was briefly interrupted during the incident. The 28-year-old has been formally charged with disturbing public order.
The Royal Family also came to Westminster Hall for the wake on Friday night – Charles III. and his three siblings, and on Saturday night Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren. The estranged brothers William and Harry stood together during the 12-minute vigil. Like his older brother, Prince Harry also wore a full dress uniform.
Being allowed to wear the uniform despite no longer sitting in the front row of the royal family was a big exception for Harry. His father had given him permission – which can be seen as a gesture of reconciliation.
Relations between the two brothers had cooled after the retirement of Harry and his wife Meghan from the front ranks of the royal family and their move to the United States. Many hope that the shared grief for their grandmother will bring them closer together.
Charles’ wife Camilla, who now holds the title of King’s Consort, paid tribute to the Queen’s lifelong achievement in a televised speech. She went her way as a “lonely woman” in a male-dominated world. As a woman, she had to ‘design’ her own role in this environment.
A minute of silence will be observed for the Queen across Britain at 8 p.m. Sunday. Following the funeral service at Westminister Abbey, the coffin containing the Queen’s remains is carried in a final solemn procession to Windsor Castle. The funeral will take place there with the family.
The Queen’s state funeral is Britain’s first since the death of ex-Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965. The Queen’s funeral ceremonies take place under massive security measures – for London police it is the largest operation in their history.