Over 2,000 guests to join Queen Elizabeth's funeral today

by IANS |

London, Sep 19 (IANS) More than 2,000 guests will gather in London's Westminster Abbey on Monday for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on September 8 at the age of 96.

Before the service commences at 11 a.m. (about 4 p.m. IST), a bell will toll for 96 consecutive minutes, marking the length of the Queen's life, reports the BBC.

Towards the end of the service, the Last Post will be played, followed by a two-minute silence and a lament from the Queen's piper.

With world leaders and dignitaries gathered in the 13th Century church for the service, King Charles III and the Queen Consort will lead the procession behind the Queen's coffin.

The Prince and Princess of Wales will walk ahead of their nine-year-old son George and seven-year-old daughter Charlotte, followed by their uncle and aunt, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and other members of the Royal Family.

George and Charlotte's younger brother Louis, four, is not expected to attend.

After the funeral ends, a committal service will follow in the evening at St George's Chapel in Windsor, the BBC reported.

The bells of Westminster Abbey will later be rung, but muffled, as is tradition following the funeral of a sovereign.

Some of the European royal families who will attend Monday's funeral are Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde; King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife, Queen Maxima, along with his mother, former Dutch queen Princess Beatrix; and King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan will also attend the service, as well as the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk.

Other expected guests include Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah; Jordan's King Abdullah; Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah; King of Lesotho, Letsie III; and Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein.

Royal leaders from Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Tonga are expected.

Leaders from across the Commonwealth, of which the Queen served as head for the entirety of her reign, will also attend.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has arrived in the UK, as have New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian President Droupadi Murmu have also reached London and will attend the funeral.

The other world leaders to be in attendance are US President and First Lady Joe and Jill Biden; Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin and President Michael Higgins; German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier; Italian President Sergio Mattarella; and French President Emmanuel Macron.

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