President Joe Biden Arrives In London For Queen Elizabeth II Funeral, Amid Guest List Controversy
President Joe Biden (R) and US First Lady Jill Biden (L) with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 2021.
President Joe Biden has arrived in London, where he will join other world leaders at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.
The prime ministers of Canada, Australia and New Zealand are already in the UK for the ceremony, but the guest list for the funeral of the world’s longest-reigning monarch is proving to be controversial.
While many of the 500 names of heads of state and foreign dignitaries are as expected – French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier all due to attend – there are some names that have caused a diplomatic headache.
Representatives from Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan have not been invited, while Iran, North Korea (DPRK) and Nicaragua have only been invited to send ambassadors instead of heads of state.
China’s President Xi Jinping was invited, but it will be his Vice President Wang Qishan who attends in his place.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) met the Queen in 2018 and is on the guest list, despite ongoing questions into the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The Crown Prince has denied accusations that he was involved in the killing, but Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatch Gengiz has publicly slammed his invitation to London.
Canada’s Justin Trudeau has already paid his respects to the Queen at her lying-in-state in London’s Westminster Hall and signed a book of condolence at Lancaster House. Other guests will do the same today.
The new King Charles III will host a formal state reception for the international guests this evening at Buckingham Palace.