Biden pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth ahead of her funeral

Biden pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth ahead of her funeral

Husband and wife Michael Holden and Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth on Sunday, the eve of her state funeral, by appearing on a balcony overlooking the late British monarch’s coffin.

Joe Biden is among many dignitaries and royals from Europe, Asia, Africa and America who will attend the funeral on Monday. Hundreds of thousands of people traveled to London to pay their respects to the Queen, who died on September 8 at the age of 96.

Elizabeth’s body has been in Westminster Hall since Wednesday.

Joe Biden took a seat on the balcony next to his wife Jill and made the sign of the cross before briefly placing his hand on his heart.

The US President will then join King Charles and other world leaders in a pre-burial reception.

“Her legacy will live on in the pages of British history and in the history of our world,” Joe Biden said in a message released after news of the Queen’s death.

Joe Biden is one of 14 US Presidents to have served during the Queen’s 70-year reign. Elizabeth has met them all – except Lyndon Johnson – starting with Harry Truman in 1951 when she was still a princess.

Joe Biden will join presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens and sultans representing nearly 200 countries and territories at the funeral. French President Emmanuel Macron was seen earlier Sunday walking by the River Thames, mingling with people who had gathered in the streets around Parliament.

A minute’s silence will be observed at 8pm (7pm GMT) on Sunday, marked by the chiming of Big Ben, which dominates Westminster Hall.

London Police described the memorial service as the largest security operation they had ever organised.

Britain has not held a state funeral on the scale planned for the Queen since that of Winston Churchill in 1965.

(With Jeff Mason, Kate Holton and Paul Sandle, French version Benjamin Mallet)


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