Before the funeral: King Charles III. welcomes guests from all over the world

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Before the funeral
King Charles III welcomes guests from all over the world

Numerous royals and state guests from around the world come to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. At the same time, thousands of people line up for miles to pay their last respects to their queen at Westminster Hall.

Ahead of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, King Charles III. hosted state guests from around the world at Buckingham Palace the night before. US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are also expected. A number of heads of state and government drove into the British capital this weekend. Charles hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Atern and other Commonwealth officials on Saturday. Federal President Franz-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender are also flying to London today.

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on September 8, was placed in Westminster Hall – the oldest part of the British Parliament – and was open to the public until early Monday morning. In recent days, tens of thousands have queued for many hours, often at night, to pay their queen one last visit and say goodbye. On Saturday, King Charles and Prince William paid a surprise visit to those waiting. The government is expected to close the line later Sunday so those waiting can walk past the box before the “in-state,” as the layout is called, ends.

National minute of silence in the evening

There will be a national minute of silence on Sunday evening at 8pm local time. Brits are invited to take a minute’s break at home, alone, but also together at events. Before then, the BBC plans to broadcast a pre-recorded video message from the king’s consort, Camilla, which Britain’s PA news agency has quoted in advance. “She was always a part of our lives,” Charles’s wife said. She’s 75 now and can’t remember anyone else at the helm, Camilla said, recognizing the queen’s role as a female pioneer.

“She had those beautiful blue eyes that lit up her whole face when she smiled,” Camilla said of the Queen. “I will always remember her smile. Her smile is unforgettable.” The Queen’s eight grandchildren, including Princes William and Harry, held a 15-minute vigil on Saturday night. For once, Harry was also allowed to wear a military uniform for the occasion. Although the 38-year-old has served in Afghanistan, he is now otherwise denied this due to his retirement from the royal family. However, after criticism that an exception was made for Andrew at a wake for the Queen’s children, the rules changed for Harry as well.

Highest security measures

Meanwhile, police, intelligence and anti-terrorist units are conducting one of the largest security operations the British capital has ever witnessed. Preparations and checks have been underway for days to ensure the safety of hundreds of thousands of people who will be in London on Monday. Hundreds of monarchs, heads of state and government from around the world are also expected.

After a service at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning, the coffin will be taken in procession to Wellington Arch. The route goes past The Mall and Buckingham Palace. The actual burial will not take place in London, but in Windsor to the west, where the coffin will be transported in a hearse. The Queen will receive her final resting place Monday evening at a private funeral in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle – alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year.

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