UK/Elizabeth: Many heads of state and government are expected in London this weekend
LONDON (Reuters) – World leaders will travel to London this weekend to pay their respects to Elizabeth II and on Sunday at a reception at Buckingham Palace chaired by King Charles III. to attend the eve of the funeral of the Queen, who died on September 8 after 70 years of reign.
Heads of state and other senior foreign dignitaries are being invited to gather at the Royal Hospital, a home for British Army pensioners, and are expected to travel in groups to Westminster Abbey, where the remains of the sovereign rest and where the funeral will take place, said a Buckingham Palace official.
Immediately after Monday’s funeral, Secretary of State James Cleverly will host a reception for guests at Church House, the seat of the Church of England, while members of the royal family travel to Windsor Castle for the sovereign’s funeral.
State Department officials handwritten thousands of invitations to heads of state around the world, except for Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Russia, Belarus and Burma.
Moscow and Minsk were not invited to send representatives because of the war in Ukraine.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan is set to represent China at the funeral, a British Foreign Office source said on Thursday. This invitation drew sharp criticism from a Beijing-sanctioned group of British MPs.
Members of the royal families of several European countries, including Belgium and the Netherlands, will visit the British capital, as will European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Indian President Drupadi Murmu.
(Report by Andrew MacAskill and William James written by William Maclean, French version by Diana Mandiá edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)
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