Chinese Delegation Given Bad News When They Try to Visit the Queen's Coffin: Report
A surging tide of people — ranging from retirees to former English soccer captain David Beckham — have lined up to file past Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin as it lies in state at Parliament, so many that authorities on Friday had to call a temporary halt to more people joining the miles-long queue.
By late afternoon, a live tracker of the queue to get into Westminster Hall said it had reopened, but the British government warned that the waiting time to cover the 5 miles from the start of the line in Southwark Park to Parliament had climbed to more than 24 hours.
King Charles III and his siblings will be standing vigil around the flag-draped coffin on Friday evening.
Beckham was spotted in the line of mourners near Britain’s Houses of Parliament at lunchtime Friday. He’s believed to have joined the queue at 2 a.m. and to have lined up for more than 10 hours with thousands of others. Wearing a white shirt and black tie, he bowed briefly to the coffin before moving out of Westminster Hall.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said viewing the queen’s coffin was an unforgettable experience.
“You’re in Westminster Hall in her presence, with a crown on top of her coffin, and it’s incredibly emotional,” he told The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Chinese officials reportedly was barred from visiting the historic hall where the late queen’s coffin is lying in state, as geopolitics cast a shadow over the solemn pageantry surrounding the monarch’s death.
The Chinese ambassador to the U.K. has been banned from Parliament for a year after Beijing sanctioned seven British legislators last year for speaking out against China’s treatment of Uyghur minorities in the far-west Xinjiang region.
The office of House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle declined to comment Friday on a report by Politico saying the Chinese delegation would not be allowed into Westminster Hall. Prime Minister Liz Truss’ office also declined to comment.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said she had not seen the Politico report but that as host of the queen’s funeral, the U.K. government should “follow the diplomatic protocols and proper manners to receive guests.”
A Chinese delegation is expected to attend the queen’s Monday funeral, which will be in Westminster Abbey. Organizers of the funeral have not published a guest list and it was unclear who from China might attend.
The sanctioned British legislators wrote to officials this week to express concerns about the Chinese government having been invited to send representatives to the queen’s state funeral.
After a day out of the public eye on Thursday, Charles flew to Wales on Friday on the final leg of his tour of the nations that make up the United Kingdom.
Charles, who for decades before his accession to the throne was the Prince of Wales, visited Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff for a service of prayer and reflection in honor of his late mother. After the service, he and Camilla, the Queen Consort, greeted crowds of well-wishers including flag-waving schoolchildren as people chanted “God save the king!”
The king later traveled to the Welsh Parliament, telling members that Wales “could not have been closer to my mother’s heart.”
Charles said he felt “immense gratitude for the privilege” of serving for decades as Prince of Wales, the title traditionally bestowed on the heir to the throne. Prince William now has that title.
Charles returns to London later Friday and will briefly stand vigil at his mother’s coffin with his siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
Before the vigil, Edward said the royal family had been “overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect” for “our dear mama.”
On Saturday, all eight of Elizabeth’s grandchildren are expected to stand vigil beside her coffin for 15 minutes.
Charles’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, will attend that vigil along with 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, who after his grandmother’s death is now the heir to the throne, will stand at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. Both princes, who are military veterans, will be in uniform.
Most senior royals have worn uniforms at events to commemorate the queen. Harry, who served in Afghanistan as an army officer, wore civilian clothes during the procession of the queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace because he is no longer a working member of the royal family. He and his wife Meghan Markle quit royal duties and moved to the U.S. in 2020.
London police said Friday that the queen’s state funeral on Monday will be the single largest policing event the force has ever handled.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the massive police operation surpasses even that for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as well as the celebrations earlier this year for the queen’s 70 years on the throne.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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