By Aditi Khanna :
PRESIDENT Draupadi Murmu will be among an estimated 500 world leaders and foreign dignitaries, including Kings and Queens and heads of State and Government, who will attend Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday. The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed the President’s three-day UK visit on Wednesday as India’s Head of State invited for the state funeral in London. It marks the first state funeral in the UK in 57 years, last held at the Abbey for Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965. According to official reports in London, King Charles III will host a reception for the overseas leaders at Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday evening before the funeral service on Monday at 11am local time.
Visiting heads of State, including President Murmu, are expected to attend the reception. Earlier on Sunday, she is expected to attend the Lying-in-State of the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall and sign a condolence book and deliver a condolence message on behalf of the Indian Government at Lancaster House near Buckingham Palace. After the funeral service on Monday, the Queen’s coffin will be taken in procession from Westminster Abbey to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. A reception in Windsor is likely to include the visiting heads of state from Commonwealth nations and key UK allies. A second reception will take place at Church House within the Abbey grounds in London for other visiting dignitaries, including senior government ministers and diplomats.
Besides Biden, world leaders who have confirmed their attendance so far include the Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Canada and Australia, President Ramaphosa of South Africa and President Steinmeier of Germany. Monarchs expected to attend include King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain.