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World leaders and royalty paid a final tribute to Queen Elizabeth tonight. US President Biden and the royal spouses of Sweden and Spain, among others, visited Westminster Hall, where the coffin with Elizabeth’s body is located.
Everyone can bid farewell to the Queen at Westminster Hall until 6:30am local time tomorrow. The funeral service will take place in Westminster Abbey at 11 am (12 noon Dutch time), after which Elizabeth will be taken to Windsor Castle. For several days, visitors have been queuing for several hours for a moment in the casket in Westminster Hall.
Several prestigious personalities arrived in London this weekend. They were able, through a private entrance, to finally bid Elizabeth farewell.
View a brief overview here:
World leaders bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth
They also met tonight at a reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by King Charles.
At 8pm local time, a minute’s silence was held across Britain to commemorate the Queen:
A minute of silence for Queen Elizabeth
President Biden and his wife Jill appeared early in the evening in Westminster Hall, where they watched the coffin from the podium for some time in silence. After that, the president praised the dignity and servitude of the late queen. He also described it as “gracious” and “reverend”.
Notable figures included King Carl Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Sofia, as well as King Philip of Spain and Queen Letizia. The black-clad Swedish royal couple made a small bow to the deceased queen.
Ukrainian First Lady Zelenska, French President Macron and Belgian King Philippe were also at the Old Parliament House. King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Princess Beatrix arrived at Buckingham Palace tonight for the reception. It is unknown if they are still on their way to Westminster Hall.
Not all world leaders are invited to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral tomorrow. For example, due to the war in Ukraine, he received Russian President Putin and Belarusian President Lukashenko no invitation. Nor are the leaders of Myanmar, Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela, countries with which the British government has limited or no diplomatic relations.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was invited. This led to international discontent. According to the CIA, the crown prince gave permission to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, although he denies this. By the way, a source told Reuters news agency that the Saudi delegation would not be the crown prince but another emir.
The invitation to Chinese President Xi Jinping was also not accepted by all. China sends Vice President Wang Qishan to the funeral.
In pictures: 10 days of British mourning for the death of Queen Elizabeth
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