Victoria Jones – PA Images / PA Images via Getty Images
(Illustrative: Westminster Abbey packed for the funeral of former Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor)
UNITED KINGDOM – A historic logistical challenge. While Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will take place on Monday 19 September, foreign leaders have received very specific and very strict instructions for their visit to London. Away from the pompous receptions they are used to, this time they will have to stick to rigorous logistics.
As indicated by a British Foreign Office document revealed by the site Politicthe number of guests from all over the world for the funeral will be such that leaders and heads of state will in no way be able to go to the place.
A limited number of guests for leaders
For one thing, the guest list is so long that each leader can bring only one other person to represent their country at Westminster Abbey. This could be your spouse or a minister.
” Due to limited space during state funerals and related events, no other family members, staff, or the main guest’s entourage will be allowed in indicates this note.
Ban on private jet landings in London
Even the heads of state will not be able to come to the UK as they wish. It is in fact not recommended to come with private jets and to privilege commercial flights. “as far as possible”writes the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the official document consulted by Politic.
London Heathrow Airport will not be able to host private flights or guarantee aircraft parking. As for those who insist on traveling by private jet, they will have to go to “Less frequented airports” around London.
Furthermore, to make the transfer to the capital, they will not even have the right to use the helicopter. “due to the number of flights in progress at the moment”.
Private cars are not allowed
Once there, on the day of the funeral, heads of state and their partner will not be able to travel to Westminster Abbey in limousines and private cars. They will be transported by coach escorted from a location in west London. It is in this area that they will have to leave their car “Due to strict safety measures and road restrictions”.
“Can you imagine Joe Biden on a bus? “, he is sorry a London-based foreign ambassador via a WhatsApp message identified by Politic. The American president travels on his Air Force One plane and moves in his armored vehicle, nicknamed “The beast”.
Speaking time of three minutes per leader
The day before the funeral, King Charles III will host a reception for all foreign leaders at Buckingham Palace. They will be able to attend the solemn unveiling of the Queen’s body and sign the condolence book at Lancaster House.
On this occasion they will be able to pay tribute to the late queen by reading a speech limited to three minutes and broadcast by the media.
“The largest police operation ever organized in the UK”
Among the expected personalities, the American presidents Joe Biden and the French Emmanuel Macron, the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, as well as many leaders of the former British colonies.
It will also be the first overseas trip of the Japanese emperor Naruhito since he took the throne in 2019, following the abdication of his father. “It will probably be the largest police and police operation ever in the UK”Nick Aldworth, former National Police Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, told the newspaper. The independent.
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