Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Japan’s Emperor Naruhito among world leaders at Westminster Abbey for Queen’s funeral | UK News

World leaders including US President Joe Biden, President Emmanuel Macron of France and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, arrived to join hundreds of others for the Queen’s funeral.

Guests started making their way inside within minutes of the end of the Queen lying in state at Westminster Hall, with the last member of the public making their way through at around 6.30am.

Mr Biden arrived in his bomb-proof limousine, with his wife Jill, and they were received by the dean of Westminster Abbey.

Mr Biden sat 14 rows back on the south transept behind the Polish leader and in front of the leader of the Czech Republic. The First Lady sat next to the Swiss delegation.

Joe Biden arrives for the funeral of the Queen
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Joe Biden arrives for the funeral of the Queen

Also present is Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako – the first time the couple have left the country since the pandemic started. Traditionally the emperor stays away from funerals except for their own parents because of cultural belief in the Shinto religions that considers death impure.

All of the living former UK prime ministers including Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Sir Tony Blair and Sir John Major came in together, shortly before Liz Truss, who is due to read a lesson at the event.

Ms Truss, who attended with her husband Hugh O’Leary, met leaders including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia and Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand at her temporary country residence at Chevening on Saturday and other leaders in Downing Street on Sunday.

(left to right, from front) Former prime ministers David Cameron and his wife Samanatha Cameron, Theresa May and Philip May arriving at the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
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(left to right, from front) Former prime ministers David Cameron and his wife Samanatha Cameron, Theresa May and Philip May arriving at the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 202

Among the first notable faces to join the congregation were Michael and Carole Middleton, two of the grandparents of Prince George, as well as numerous members of the government and other senior politicians, such as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and London mayor Sadiq Khan.

One of the first royals to arrive was Moroccan Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, who at the age of 19 is representing his father King Mohammed VI.

Irish President Michael Higgins, President of the EU Council Charles Michel and Croatia’s president Moran Milanovic are also there.

Before the arrival of the Royal Family, who followed the coffin as it was brought from Westminster Hall, there was silence in the abbey except for the distant sound of the tenor bell and the footsteps of guests still taking their seats as the start of the service drew close.

Michael D Higgins at the funeral for the queen
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Michael D Higgins at the funeral for the queen

The first foreign leaders had arrived in three coaches that pulled up outside Westminster Abbey containing dozens of figures from countries across the world.

As they alighted and went into the abbey, a single bell tolled every minute to mark the 96 years of the Queen’s life.

At around the same time a convoy of black Range Rovers, flanked by police outriders, snaked through central London.

The funeral of Her Majesty the Queen at Westminster Abbey. Carole Middleton and Michael Middleton. September 19, 2022. Geoff Pugh/Pool via REUTERS
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The funeral of Her Majesty the Queen at Westminster Abbey. Carole Middleton and Michael Middleton.

Dignitaries arriving for Queen’s funeral – live updates

Many of the foreign dignitaries made their way to the Abbey from the Royal Chelsea Hospital, where they had been gathering since about 7.30am.

The leaders attending were among around 500 others from nearly 200 countries and territories.

Tom Parker Bowles at the funeral for the Queen
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Tom Parker Bowles at the funeral for the Queen

They include nearly 100 presidents and heads of government, and over 20 royals, according to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office source.

The only countries not invited were Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan.

Iran, North Korea and Nicaragua are due to represented at ambassadorial level, but China’s Vice President Wang Qishan is expected to attend as the special representative of President Xi Jinping, despite concerns over China’s treatment of the Uyghur people.

The funeral is being broadcast live to more than 200 countries and is said to be among the most-watched events in the history of television.

British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer at Westminster Abbey, on the day of state funeral and burial of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain, September 19, 2022 REUTERS/John Sibley
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British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer at Westminster Abbey, on the day of state funeral and burial of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain, September 19, 2022 REUTERS/John Sibley

The leaders are among the 2,000 people gathering at Westminster Abbey to remember the Queen.

The first vehicle to cross the police cordon at Royal Chelsea Hospital was registered to Sudan. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s military leader, was expected to attend the funeral.

Diplomatic vehicles from Australia, Poland, Germany, the European Commission and Italy arrived soon after.

The first guests began arriving at the abbey shortly after 8am, with the first entering through the east gate.

Early this morning, police officers had formed a ring of security around the Royal Hospital Chelsea, blocking off streets.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and his wife, Saadiya Khan arrive at the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022.
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Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and his wife, Saadiya Khan arrive at the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

The home of the Chelsea pensioners was cut off to the public by uniformed officers and security barriers.

Some dignitaries, including Presidents Macron and Biden had previously joined mourners to see the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall.

The operation to keep safe the dignitaries and the hundreds of thousands of members of the public in the capital to see the coffin pass by is one of the biggest security operations ever planned by the Metropolitan Police.

It surpasses the operation for the Platinum Jubilee weekend and the London 2012 Olympics, which saw up to 10,000 police officers on duty each day.

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