Funeral of Elizabeth II: heads of state, crowned heads, anonymous heroes… Who are the guests of the ceremony?

Never had the London police supervised an event of such magnitude. The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, will mobilize 10,000 police in the capital on Monday September 19.

>> Funeral of Elizabeth II: why the guest list turns into a diplomatic puzzle

This state funeral, the first since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965, will take place at Westminster Abbey, in London (United Kingdom), at 12 p.m. (Paris time) in front of 2,000 guests, including several hundred world leaders and nearly 200 anonymous heroes. Franceinfo looked at the invitation cards for this event. Non-exhaustive list.

Leaders from around the world

Among the historic allies, the French President Emmanuel Macron will be present to show the link”unwavering” of his country with the United Kingdom and pay tribute to a “eternal queen“. The American President Joe Biden will also attend the funeral, along with his wife Jill Biden. The tenant of the White House must pay a first tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday before participating in a reception organized by King Charles III in the evening, said the American executive. On the European side, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will also be present, as well as the Chairman of the Board, Charles Michel.

US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden arrive in London (UK) to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, September 17, 2022.  (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

On the Commonwealth side, representatives from all 56 member countries will be present, reports the BBC. Among them, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardernthe Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanian. India will be represented by the President Drupadi Murmu. Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, also responded positively to the invitation, according to the BBC.

Other international leaders are also expected in London: the head of the Irish government, Michael MartinGerman President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholzthe Italian President Sergio MattarellaTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, and the South Korean President, Yoon Suk-yeol, have also confirmed their presence, specifies Reuters. On Sunday afternoon, Charles III, who became king at 73, will welcome heads of state to Buckingham Palace.

The crowned heads

Several members of European royal families are expected, many of whom were related to the Queen. As such, king philip and Queen Mathilde of Belgiumas well as King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife, Queen Maximahave confirmed their attendance.

King Felipe VI and his wife Queen Letizia of Spain, September 12, 2022, in Madrid (Spain).  (THOMAS COEX / AFP)

Still according to the British channel, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain also accepted the invitation. The same goes for the royal families of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Monaco. The Japanese Emperor, Naruhito and Empress Masako must also be present, according to several local media in the country.

The anonymous heroes

Close to 200 workers and volunteers also received an invitation card, reports Sky News. Among them, lawyers, doctors, but also teachers or veterans. Natalie Queiroz, a teacher known for educating her students about the dangers of knife crimes, is one such “anonymous heroes.” She announced her arrival on her Twitter account: “It’s a huge honor”, she said. In 2016, the teacher had survived a knife attack by her companion, during which she had been stabbed 24 times while she was pregnant, recalls the British media.

Another anonymous hero: Pranav Bhanot, honored for his help during the Covid-19 health crisis. The lawyer from Essex (north-east London) had helped distribute almost 1,200 free meals during the pandemic. In the same way, Robert Lodgea 71-year-old veteran, also invited to the funeral.

The absents

Several heads of state have not received an invitation card. Lth russian president Vladimir Poutine had already declared that he would not be present, after London decided not to invite a Russian representative to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries. The Kremlin’s ally, the Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenkowas also not invited.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) on September 16, 2022, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.  (SERGEI BOBYLYOV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

In the rest of the world, the Burmese, Syrian, Venezuelan, North Korean and Afghan leaders were also not invited, reports BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale on Twitter. North Korea and Nicaragua, meanwhile, have been asked to send only ambassadors, not heads of state.

On the Chinese side, the Head of State Xi Jinping was invited, but he did not give a positive response. Beijing assured that a delegation “high level” would be sent. The Chinese ambassador to the UK finally announced on Twitter on Saturday that the Chinese vice-president would be attending the funeral. Pope Francis will also be absent, the Vatican said in a statement. The pontiff will be represented by the head of his diplomacy, Paul Gallagher.


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