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The Westminster Abbey service will be one of the century’s great diplomatic events.
By Rachel Wearmouth
Today, 19 September, is the Queen’s funeral. A grand state service at Westminster Abbey will be followed by a private event at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where she will be buried.
The queue to see the Queen lying in state finally closed at 10.30pm last night after a minute’s silence at 8pm.
At 10.35am today, the bearer party will move the Queen’s coffin from Westminster Hall to the gun carriage. The King, the late Queen’s children and grandchildren will all walk behind in a procession to Westminster Abbey. At 11am the funeral will begin at Westminster Abbey, and then at 12.15pm the procession will leave the abbey and continue through central London. At 1pm, the coffin will be moved from the gun carriage to the state hearse and taken to Windsor Castle for a 4pm committal service at St George’s Chapel.
Then at 7.30pm, there will be a private service at the chapel and the Queen will be buried alongside her husband, Prince Philip.
The service at Westminster Abbey will be one of the great diplomatic occasions of the century. But who will be there?
Around 200 key workers and volunteers recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours earlier this year have been invited. A Foreign Office source said that roughly 500 guests from nearly 200 countries and territories – represented by nearly 100 presidents and heads of government, and more than 20 royals – were also coming.
The Queen’s four children – King Charles III, Princess Anne, princes Andrew and Edward – will be there, as well as Camilla, the Queen Consort, and Sophie, Edward’s wife. In addition, the late monarch’s grandchildren: princes William and Harry – and their wives Catherine and Megan – Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Louise and James Windsor. Other family members include the Queen’s cousins: Prince Edward, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince Richard.
Members of royal families from other countries are expected, including Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan; King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands; King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain; Juan Carlos, the former king of Spain, and his wife Sofía; King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium; Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary; King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden; and King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway.
Prime Minister Liz Truss will of course be at the funeral, as will the Labour leader Keir Starmer, and the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.
The US president Joe Biden and his wife Jill will attend, as well as the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie, the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, and the French president Emmanuel Macron. Other European leaders that have accepted invitations include the German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Italian president Sergio Mattarella and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
China’s vice-president Wang Qishan will attend as the special representative of President Xi Jinping, officials have said. The Indian president Droupadi Murmu will also be at Westminster Abbey.
Also present will be: Alexander Van der Bellen, president of Austria; Gitanas Nauseda, president of Lithuania; Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Sri Lankan president; Andrzej Duda, president of Poland; Charles Michel, president of the European Council; Egils Levits, president of Latvia; Paula-Mae Weekes, president of Trinidad and Tobago; Mohammed Shtayyeh, the Palestinian prime minister; Sauli Niinisto, president of Finland; Katalin Novak, the Hungarian president; Isaac Herzog, president of Israel; and Andrew Holness, the prime minister of Jamaica.
Tomorrow (20 September), politics will slowly begin to return as the national mourning period draws to a close. News emerged yesterday that Biden’s meeting with Truss had been cancelled. No 10 would not give any further details but a bilateral meeting is planned between the two at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
Later this week, the Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg will give full details of the government’s energy price cap, which will see bills frozen at an annual average of £2,500 per household. And on Friday (23 September), Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget will take place in the Commons.
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