Leaders in U.K. for Queen’s funeral

President Droupadi Murmu pays her respects at Westminster Hall in London, where Queen Elizabeth II is Lying-in-state, on September 18, 2022.

President Droupadi Murmu pays her respects at Westminster Hall in London, where Queen Elizabeth II is Lying-in-state, on September 18, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

World leaders and royalty arrived in London on Saturday night and Sunday to offer condolences on behalf of their countries and say their final goodbyes to Queen Elizabeth II whose state funeral is scheduled for Monday. The 96-year-old Queen — Britain’s longest reigning monarch of 70 years — died on September 8 in Scotland. President Droupadi Murmu was among those who visited the Westminster Hall in the British Parliament complex on Sunday, where the Queen’s is lying in state.

“President Droupadi Murmu visited Westminster Hall London where the body of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II is lying in state. The President offered tributes to the departed soul on her own behalf and on behalf of the people of India,” the President’s official twitter handle said. Among those with her was Deputy High Commissioner to the U.K., Sujit Ghosh.

Later in the day, U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, along with U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. Jane Hartley could also be seen in Westminster Hall paying their respects.

Thousands of people continued to arrive in Westminster Hall, some apparently unaware of the high profile visitors on the balconies on the sides of the 900 plus year old hall.

Stretched for miles

The line to see the Queen lying in state, “The Queue” as it has come to be known colloquially, has stretched for miles, with wait times on Saturday being estimated at 17 hours. Celebrity and former professional footballer David Beckham was among those who queued, telling the media that he waited 12 hours.

Others in London for the funeral included Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako,  French President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Bridgette Macron,

As The Hindu went to press, the leaders gathered at Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort. Over the weekend, the new king met with heads of government from commonwealth “realms” — of which he is the head of state. These included Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau of Canada, Andrew Holness of Jamaica, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Anthony Albanese of Australia.

The Queen’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. local time at Westminster Abbey followed by a  4 p.m. service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor and a burial at 7.30 p.m. at King George VI Memorial Chapel, Windsor,  which will be closed to the public.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2022 1:48:56 am |