Hundreds of foreign royals and heads of state are expected to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London on Monday for one of the largest diplomatic gatherings in decades.
Westminster Abbey has room for about 2,000 people. About 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries are expected along with their partners, according to the BBC and Sky News.
The Queen’s family, courtiers, public figures and British politicians will also attend the first British state funeral in six decades.
A host of royals from Europe and beyond have confirmed they will be attending the funeral of Britain’s longest serving monarch.
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will attend – their first overseas trip since they took the throne in 2019. The visit marks a departure from Japanese tradition, with the Emperor rarely attending funerals.
The royal families of Europe are closely related after centuries of mixing their bloodlines, so it will come as no surprise to see several monarchs of the continent.
King Harald V of Norway, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Philippe, King of the Belgians will all be in attendance.
Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, who canceled a series of events to mark her 50th anniversary after the death of her third cousin, Queen Elizabeth, is also coming.
The Spanish King Felipe VI will be there with his wife Queen Letizia. So does his father, former King Juan Carlos I, who abdicated in disgrace in 2014 and now lives in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.
Although Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and its de facto ruler, was invited, it turned out late Sunday that he would not be attending.
There has been international outcry over the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey by Saudi agents.
The wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Olena, appears likely to be in attendance after visiting the Queen’s casket at Westminster Hall on Sunday.
US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill head the diplomatic guest list and flew to Britain late Saturday, where they also paid their respects for the coffin on Sunday.
Unlike some other leaders who have been asked to board coaches arranged by the British government, Biden has reportedly been given permission to use his armored presidential limousine known as The Beast.
French President Emmanuel Macron will be in attendance, the Elysée Palace said, to show the “unbreakable” bond with Britain and to honor the “eternal queen”.
He is also one of the leaders who will be allowed to use their own transport, British officials said.
Turkey’s authoritarian presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro are also coming.
China will send its vice president, Wang Qishan, at the invitation of the British government.
Despite Britain’s Brexit separation from the European Union, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council head Charles Michel will also go.
Other heads of state at the funeral include Presidents Sergio Mattarella of Italy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Isaac Herzog of Israel and Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea.
Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin will attend a symbolic move to pay tribute to the Queen, whose 2011 state visit to the Republic of Ireland helped heal decades of tensions over Northern Ireland’s position in the UK.
Countless leaders will come from countries where Queen Elizabeth was the head of state.
Among them are Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
There will also be leaders from other states in the 56-nation Commonwealth, of which Queen Elizabeth was the symbolic figurehead.
Among them are South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
Due to tense ties, the UK has chosen to invite ambassadors, not heads of state, from several countries – Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea.
Russia and Belarus are among a small group of countries that have been completely excluded after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has imposed a travel ban to the UK due to sanctions, had already said he would not attend.
But not inviting a Russian representative to the Queen’s funeral was “particularly blasphemous towards the memory of Elizabeth II” and “deeply immoral,” a spokeswoman for the Moscow Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Russia and Belarus have embassies in London and their presidents have sent condolences to King Charles III.
Other uninvited countries include Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.