King Charles III welcomed world leaders to Buckingham Palace on Sunday ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, while US President Joe Biden paid a final tribute to the late monarch.
Biden crossed himself and placed his hand on his heart as he stood with his wife Jill on a gallery overlooking the flag-draped coffin in London’s cavernous Westminster Hall.
Members of the public filed by the time to pay their last respects to the one sovereign most Britons ever knew before she was buried on Monday.
Biden said the queen, who ruled a record 70 years until her death on September 8 at the age of 96, was an example of the “understanding of servitude.”
“To all the people of England, all the people of the UK, our hearts go out to you, and you were lucky enough to have had her for 70 years, we all were. The world is better for her,” Biden said after his signature. a condolence register.
The US president then went to Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by Charles for the dozen leaders from reclusive Japanese Emperor Naruhito to French Emmanuel Macron who attended the funeral.
Australian anti-monarchy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who saw the Secretary of State and met Charles on Saturday, told Sky News Australia the Queen was “a constant reassuring presence”.
There was also a private audience at Buckingham Palace for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who, like Australia and 12 other Commonwealth realms, now considers Charles to be his sovereign.
“You could see it meant an enormous amount (to Charles) to have seen the enormity and outpouring of people’s love and affection for Her Majesty,” she told UKTN television on Sunday.
But in a sign of challenges for the new king, Ardern added that she expected New Zealand to dump the British monarchy “in the course of my life”.
Audiences camped in advance to catch a glimpse of Monday’s grand farewell at Westminster Abbey, which is expected to bring London to a standstill and be watched by billions of viewers worldwide.
EJ Kelly, a 46-year-old school teacher from Northern Ireland, secured a prime spot with friends on the route the procession will take after the funeral.
“It’s great to see it on television, but being here is something else,” she told UKTN, outfitted with camping chairs, warm clothes and extra socks.
“I’m probably going to feel very emotional when it comes down to it, but I wanted to be here to pay my respects.”
Crowds also flocked to Windsor Castle, west of London, where the Queen’s coffin will be transported after the service for a private funeral to rest her next to her late husband Prince Philip, her parents and her sister.
“I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen it so busy,” said Donna Lumbard, 32, a manager of a local restaurant.
Starting with a single toll from Big Ben, British Prime Minister Liz Truss will hold a national minute of silence on Sunday at 8pm (1900 GMT) to reflect on the Queen’s “life and legacy”.
Near the Scottish town of Falkirk, 96 lanterns are said to be lowered into a “pool of reflection” at the foot of the Queen Elizabeth II Canal, before wreaths are placed in the water.
Those wishing to see the flag-draped coffin have until 6:30 am (0530 GMT) Monday to reach Westminster Hall opposite the abbey.
While the line continued to wind for miles along the River Thames on Sunday, the wait was over nine hours and will likely close by evening.
“To avoid disappointment, please don’t queue,” the government said.
Andy Sanderson, 46, a supermarket area manager, stood in line and eventually made it to parliament.
“She was the glue that held the country together,” he said.
“She doesn’t have an agenda, while politicians do, so she can speak for the people.”
wake for grandchildren
As mourners slowly passed by on Saturday night, Prince William and his estranged younger brother Prince Harry led the Queen’s eight grandchildren around the coffin in a 12-minute wake.
The move appeared to be the latest olive branch Charles offered to Harry and his wife Meghan after they gave up their royal duties and moved to North America, later accusing the royal family of racism.
Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral, Britain’s first since the death of her first Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965, will take place at 11 a.m. Monday at Westminster Abbey.
The former Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, reflected on the Queen’s wishes for the hour-long ceremony, saying she “didn’t want what you call long, boring services”.
“People’s hearts and clams will be heated,” he told the UKTN.
Tribute to Camilla, Andrew
Leaders from Russia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria and North Korea were not invited to join the 2,000 guests.
Moscow’s foreign ministry last week called the decision “deeply immoral” and “blasphemous” in memory of the queen. China will be present at the abbey, but has been barred from the landscape by parliamentary leaders.
While their personal grief has played out in the glare of global attention, a new YouGov poll showed that the royal family’s popularity has soared in the UK.
William and his wife Kate topped the list of most popular royals, while Charles saw his approval ratings rise 16 points since May.
The Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, disgraced his ties to billionaire American pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, on Sunday paid tribute to the Queen’s “infinite knowledge and wisdom, without limit or inclusion.”
Camilla made her first public comments as the new queen consort, recalling her mother-in-law’s smile and “beautiful blue eyes”.
“It must have been so hard for her to be a lonely woman” in a world dominated by men, Charles’s wife said in television commentary.
“There were no female prime ministers or presidents. She was the only one, so I think she played her own part.”
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