London is now very busy. More than three quarters of a million people are expected to file past the Queen lying-in-state in the Palace of Westminster. After several pauses, entry to the queue has resumed. It now stretches for five miles and the maximum waiting time is estimated to be 16 hours. But next comes the funeral. Royalty, presidents, current and former prime ministers, diplomats and dignitaries are poised to descend on the capital for the ceremony on Monday 19 September at Westminster Abbey, which can hold around 2,000 people. So who’s coming?
There was uncertainty over whether the US president Joe Biden would attend the funeral. He hasn’t come on a state visit to the UK since he entered office. But when asked by reporters last Friday (9 September), he replied: “Yes. I don’t know what the details are yet but I will be going.” The White House has confirmed that the president and First Lady Jill Biden will be attending, but they will not be travelling by bus. It has also been confirmed that former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama will not be attending.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey has said that he wants to come. The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has also confirmed he will attend. The UK’s political leaders such as the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, will be there. Former prime ministers – Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major – are also likely to be invited.
Alongside the politicians, royalty from around the world are also expected to attend. The guest list for Prince Philip’s memorial service in April 2021 provides some idea of who might have received an invitation. Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia King, Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway and Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco have all been confirmed as guests.
Emperor Naruhito of Japan, who ascended the Chrysanthemum throne back in 2019, has plans to travel to London for the funeral in what would be his first overseas trip since becoming emperor. It seems unlikely that the Chinese and Russian presidents, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, will attend. The royal family will also be in attendance, of course, including the new Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Catherine. Unlike for Prince Philip’s memorial, Harry and Meghan are in the UK and expected to attend.
The King is due to host a reception at Buckingham Palace the night before. World leaders have been asked to limit the use of their own cars, private jets and helicopters on the way to the event, according to Politico. It has been reported that attendees could be bussed to Westminster Abbey from a location in west London. The government spokesperson has since played down the plans, saying arrangements for different leaders will vary for security reasons. After the funeral, overseas leaders will be escorted to Dean’s Yard within the grounds of the abbey for a reception hosted by the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly.
This article is being kept updated with the latest information.
[See also: Portraits of a Queen]