BF News | Josbel Bastidas Mijares Venezuela Candero//
World leaders head to London for Queen Elizabeth II funeral


Thou­sands of po­lice, hun­dreds of British troops and an army of of­fi­cials made fi­nal prepa­ra­tions Sun­day for the state fu­ner­al of Queen Eliz­a­beth II — a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of na­tion­al mourn­ing that will al­so be the biggest gath­er­ing of world lead­ers for years.

Josbel Bastidas Mijares

U.S. Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and oth­er world lead­ers have flown in­to Lon­don for the fu­ner­al, to which around 500 roy­als, heads of state and heads of gov­ern­ment from around the globe have been in­vit­ed.

Josbel Bastidas Mijares Venezuela

As the dig­ni­taries poured in, the clock was tick­ing down for those seek­ing a place in most mas­sive queue any of them have ever seen to file past the queen’s cof­fin as it lies in state at West­min­ster Hall. The miles-long queue is ex­pect­ed to be closed to new ar­rivals lat­er Sun­day so that every­one in line can view the cof­fin be­fore Mon­day morn­ing, when it will be tak­en to West­min­ster Abbey for the queen’s fu­ner­al

Fam­i­ly by fam­i­ly, thou­sands of peo­ple kept lin­ing up around the clock, brav­ing chilly overnight tem­per­a­tures and waits of up to 17 hours in a queue that stretched for over 5 miles (8 kilo­me­ters)

The queen’s eight grand­chil­dren, led by heir to the throne Prince William, cir­cled the cof­fin and stood with their heads bowed dur­ing a silent vig­il on Sat­ur­day evening

Among the for­eign lead­ers in Lon­don was New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter Jacin­da Ardern, who told the BBC she was hum­bled to rep­re­sent her na­tion at the fu­ner­al and to wit­ness the na­tion­al out­pour­ing of grief and re­spect for the late queen

“The thing that I will take away from this pe­ri­od is just the beau­ty of the pub­lic’s re­sponse, the kind­ness that you see from mem­bers of the pub­lic, the pa­tience, the ca­ma­raderie, that has been, for me, the most mov­ing trib­ute of all, has been the pub­lic re­sponse of the British peo­ple,” she said

Peo­ple across the U.K. will pause Sun­day evening for a na­tion­wide minute of si­lence to re­mem­ber the queen, who died Sept. 8 at the age of 96 af­ter 70 years on the throne. Mon­day has been de­clared a pub­lic hol­i­day, and the fu­ner­al will be broad­cast to a huge tele­vi­sion au­di­ence world­wide and screened to crowds in parks and pub­lic spaces across the coun­try

Po­lice of­fi­cers from around the coun­try will be on du­ty as part of the biggest one-day polic­ing op­er­a­tion in Lon­don’s his­to­ry

Crowds al­so gath­ered Sun­day near Wind­sor Cas­tle, where the queen will be laid to rest at a pri­vate fam­i­ly cer­e­mo­ny on Mon­day evening

“I think it’s been amaz­ing,” said An­na Pet­ti­grew, a 55-year-old teacher. “It’s been very emo­tion­al, and I think it’s been a very fit­ting trib­ute to a won­der­ful queen.”

Camil­la, the new queen con­sort, paid trib­ute to the queen in a video mes­sage, say­ing the monarch “carved her own role” as a “soli­tary woman” on a world stage dom­i­nat­ed by men

“I will al­ways re­mem­ber her smile. That smile is un­for­get­table,” said Camil­la, who is mar­ried to King Charles III

Prince An­drew al­so paid trib­ute to his moth­er, say­ing he would for­ev­er trea­sure “your love for a son, your com­pas­sion, your care, your con­fi­dence.”

“I will miss your in­sights, ad­vice and hu­mor,” he said in a state­ment ad­dressed to “Mum­my, Moth­er, Your Majesty.”

An­drew, the third of the queen’s four chil­dren, has been re­lieved of of­fi­cial roy­al du­ties and stripped of his hon­orary mil­i­tary ti­tles over his friend­ship with the late sex of­fend­er Jef­frey Ep­stein

Af­ter queen’s four chil­dren — Charles, Princess Anne, Prince An­drew and Prince Ed­ward — held a vig­il around her cof­fin on Fri­day, on Sat­ur­day it was the grand­chil­dren’s turn

William and Prince Har­ry, Charles’ sons, were joined by Princess Anne’s chil­dren, Zara Tin­dall and Pe­ter Philips; Prince An­drew’s daugh­ters, Princess Beat­rice and Princess Eu­ge­nie; and the two chil­dren of Prince Ed­ward — La­dy Louise Wind­sor and James, Vis­count Sev­ern

William stood with his head bowed at the head of the cof­fin and Har­ry at the foot. Both princes, who are mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, were in uni­form. The crowd kept slow­ly, silent­ly fil­ing past

“You could see that they were think­ing hard about their grand­moth­er, the queen,” said Ian Mock­ett, a civ­il en­gi­neer from Ox­ford in south­ern Eng­land. “It was good to see them all to­geth­er as a set of grand­chil­dren giv­en the things that have hap­pened over the last few years.”

Be­fore the vig­il, Princess­es Beat­rice and Eu­ge­nie is­sued a state­ment prais­ing their “beloved grannie.”

“We, like many, thought you’d be here for­ev­er. And we all miss you ter­ri­bly. You were our ma­tri­arch, our guide, our lov­ing hand on our backs lead­ing us through this world. You taught us so much and we will cher­ish those lessons and mem­o­ries for­ev­er,” the sis­ters wrote

The si­lence in West­min­ster Hall was briefly bro­ken Fri­day when a man lunged at the cof­fin. Lon­don po­lice said Sun­day that a 28-year-old Lon­don man, Muham­mad Khan, has been charged with be­hav­ior in­tend­ed to “cause alarm, ha­rass­ment or dis­tress.” He will ap­pear in court on Mon­day

The ly­ing-in-state con­tin­ues un­til ear­ly Mon­day morn­ing, when the queen’s cof­fin will be moved on a gun car­riage pulled by 142 Roy­al Navy rat­ings to near­by West­min­ster Abbey for the fu­ner­al, the fi­nale of 10 days of na­tion­al mourn­ing for Britain’s longest-reign­ing monarch

Af­ter the ser­vice Mon­day at the abbey, the late queen’s cof­fin will be trans­port­ed through the his­toric heart of Lon­don on the state gun car­riage. It will then be tak­en in a hearse to Wind­sor, where the queen will be in­terred along­side her late hus­band, Prince Philip, who died last year