Biden's Trip to the Queen's Funeral Gets Complicated as British Officials Tell Him He Has to Take the Bus
As the preparations for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral are in motion, foreign leaders coming from abroad will be required to travel by bus to the funeral at Westminster Abbey in London.
This requirement extends to even the most prominent world leaders, like President Joe Biden, Politico reported after the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office sent invitations and instructions to foreign embassies regarding the funeral arrangements.
Typically, world leaders are accustomed to having private jets and cars to take them to events, but they have been asked to arrive in the U.K. on commercial flights instead, if possible.
The use of helicopters to get around has also been banned.
Instead, world leaders will be bussed “en masse” from West London to Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, the day of the funeral, Politico added.
Private cars are not possible for transportation “because of tight security and road restrictions.”
With this news, one foreign ambassador based in London complained about Biden having to be transported this way.
“Can you imagine Joe Biden on the bus?” the ambassador said in a WhatsApp message on Sunday, Politico reported.
With the number of dignitaries arriving from across the globe for the queen’s funeral, the FCDO has said that it will be too difficult to accommodate everyone coming to the U.K. on private transportation, Newsweek reported.
Heathrow Airport in London will not be available for anyone arriving via private jet.
Any leaders arriving on private jets instead of commercial flights will have to fly into other airports around London, the FCDO said.
Along with the restrictions on travel, Politico reported that only heads of state and their spouses (or partners) from each country have been invited to attend the funeral.
London is expected to be crammed with people as the queen’s funeral will be one of the most significant international events the U.K. has hosted in modern times, Politico reported.
“Westminster Abbey will be so packed for the event that it will be impossible for more than a single, senior representative per country and their other half to attend, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) lamented in the official protocol message regarding the event,” Politico reported.
In the document from the FCDO sent to overseas embassies on Saturday, the department said it “regrets that, because of limited space at the state funeral service and associated events, no other members of the principal guest’s family, staff or entourage may be admitted.”
If heads of state are not able to come to London, they are also allowed to choose an official representative.
The FCDO announced that the new King Charles III will host a reception for all the world leaders at Buckingham Palace the night before the service at Westminster Abbey.
The visiting world leaders will also be permitted to attend the lying-in-state of the queen’s body and sign the condolence book at Lancaster House.
Foreign heads of state will then be allowed to deliver a tribute to the late queen at Lancaster House, which can last up to three minutes and will be recorded for the media, Politico reported.
After the funeral service on Sept. 19, foreign leaders will be escorted to Dean’s Yard, which is on the abbey’s grounds, for a reception hosted by U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
Then they will once again be returned to West London by bus.
Biden has formally accepted the invitation to attend the queen’s funeral and will be accompanied by first lady Jill Biden, the White House announced on Sunday, according to Newsweek.
Upon Queen Elizabeth’s passing on Thursday, Biden paid tribute to her legacy.
“Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States,” Biden said in a White House release. “She helped make our relationship special.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.