Sunday, September 25, 2022

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Joe Biden arrives in London for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

The US leader is expected to meet King Charles and pay tribute at Elizabeth’s coffin ahead of Monday’s state funeral.

US President Joe Biden arrives in London ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.

He is expected to pay tribute at her coffin on Sunday and later join King Charles and dozens of other world leaders for a reception before the big state funeral on Monday.

Elizabeth’s body has been lying in historic Westminster Hall since Wednesday, and people from all walks of life and from around the world have turned in in a constant, emotional stream, many queuing overnight and some for up to 24 hours.

“Her legacy will go down deeply in the pages of British history and in the history of our world,” Biden said in a message following news of the Queen’s death on September 8.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, seen curtseying in front of the coffin, are among the dignitaries who have already paid their respects.

The UK has hosted a series of poignant, carefully choreographed ceremonies in the 10 days following Elizabeth’s death, reflecting the traditions and pageantry of the British royal family, whose lineage stretches back nearly 1,000 years.

On Saturday night, the Queen’s eight grandchildren, including Charles’ sons Princes William and Harry, held a solemn vigil by the side of their coffin after their children held a similar celebration the previous day.

A minute of national silence will be observed at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Sunday.

Royals and the British government now look forward to Monday’s funeral at Westminster Abbey, the site of coronations, weddings and burials of English and then British kings and queens since William I in 1066.

London Police have called the ceremony the largest security operation they have ever conducted.

Around 500 guests from nearly 200 countries and territories will attend – including presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens and sultans – and huge crowds are expected to fill the streets.

The UK has not held a state funeral on the scale planned for the Queen since World War II leader Winston Churchill.

The Government said large screens would be set up in Hyde Park in London and in cities across the country to watch the ceremony.

The funeral service will also be broadcast live by three channels.

Such was the desire to pay tribute to the beloved monarch, the only one most Britons have known since she acceded in 1952, that tens of thousands have waited patiently in a line along the River Thames for a few brief seconds at her side to spend her coffin.

By the end of her term Monday, officials filed an estimated 750,000.

“She wouldn’t believe any of this, she really wouldn’t believe it,” Prince William said as he joined his father Charles, the new king, to speak to mourners waiting in line. “It is wonderful.”

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