Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey 11am on Monday, September 19th. The event will be a moment for the nation to collectively mourn the loss of the longest serving monarch in British history. Simultaneously the event will also be one of the largest diplomatic occasions of the century. The guest list is expected to include world leaders, politicians and European royals.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Invite list
It is expected that the venue at capacity can hold 2,000 people with public figures that worked closely with the Queen to be prioritized in attendance. The Queen’s family will be present to mourn their loss, with her four children; King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, in addition to the Queen Consort and other members of the royal family.
Invitations went out over the weekend, with approximately 500 heads of state with foreign dignitaries expected to attend. Notably, the majority of leaders have been asked to arrive on commercial flights. Members of the royal families from across Europe are expected in attendance, such as Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Matilde. Furthermore, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife, Queen Maxima along with his mother, former Dutch queen Princess Beatrix. King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain have also accepted an invitation, as have the royal families of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Monaco.
President of the United States Joe Biden has confirmed his attendance alongside the First Lady Jill Biden. Speculation remains as to whether President Biden will invite former presidents such as Donald Trump and Barack Obama. Jimmy Carter, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, has not received an invitation.
Commonwealth leaders have received invitations, including the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who is expected to attend. In addition, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Notably, the long serving Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe also reported having received invitations.
Additional world leaders have also accepted invitations, including Italian President Sergio Mattarella, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Controversially, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has also confirmed attendance in amongst the upcoming elections in Brazil scheduled in October. Further controversial invitations due their alleged history of human rights abuses; the Islamic Republic of Iran, have also received invitations for their ambassadors.
Those who will miss out
BBC’s James Landale has confirmed that representatives from Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan have not been invited. Moreover, it is reported that no one from Russia has been invited. This comes after, President Vladimir Putin gave his message of condolences last week.
Since the precipice of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the diplomatic relations between the UK and Russia have collapsed. On commenting on Russia not being included in the invitations, a spokesperson for President Vladimir Putin stated that he was “not considering” attending the funeral.
Additional leaders have not received an invitation, including representatives from Belarus and Myanmar. Despite North Korea’s (DPRK) and Nicaragua’s leaders not being invited, they have been permitted to send their ambassadors only.
As we continue to feel to magnitude of the loss in the longest reigning monarch, it is clear that the guestlist for the funeral also demonstrates that wider political considerations were at play. One may consider the controversial nature in inviting the likes of Bolsonaro and ambassadors from Iran, yet not having North Korea’s nor Nicaragua’s leaders in attendance.
If we are to be universally understood as nation that will not engage with leaders that continue to violate peoples human rights, we must be partial in our decision making. Yet, it is clear that the late Queen Elizabeth II was dearly loved by all leaders irrespective of their international and domestic actions.