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2000 guests are expected to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

AFP

NOS news

As the British public bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Hall, preparations for her funeral next Monday are in full swing. It will be an enormous logistical undertaking: around 2,000 domestic and foreign guests are expected for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, including hundreds of heads of state, heads of government and other dignitaries. With all those world leaders in one place in London, the British have to take massive security action.

Of course there are representatives of other European royal houses, such as King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Beatrix, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, and King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain. Princes and queens from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Principality of Monaco are also invited.

US President Biden and his wife Jill have confirmed to attend. Trump, Biden’s predecessor, was not invited to join the US delegation. Former President Obama and his wife Michelle were reportedly personally invited. It is not known if there will be other former US presidents.

Special guests

The heads of government of the Commonwealth of Nations, of which Elizabeth is head of state, will be there: Prime Minister Albanian of Australia, Prime Minister Ardern of New Zealand and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada. The same goes for representatives of former British colonies, such as President Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, President Murmu of India and Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh since 2009.

It is not known whether Chinese President Xi Jinping has been invited. He is visiting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan this week, his first trip abroad since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It is understood that Russian President Putin did not receive the call.

Not welcome

Thus Putin is part of a group of world leaders who are not openly invited. No one is welcome from authoritarian countries like Belarus, Myanmar, even at the diplomatic level. No one from Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan will attend as the UK does not have full diplomatic relations with those countries.

Other countries with strained relations with the West, such as Iran, North Korea and Nicaragua, have been invited to send their ambassadors.