the logistical puzzle of the funeral of Elizabeth II

the logistical puzzle of the funeral of Elizabeth II

6:12 p.m., September 12, 2022, amended to 6:19 p.m., September 12, 2022

The reception of hundreds of foreign dignitaries expected in London for the funeral of Elizabeth II “will depend on individual constraints” of everyone, Downing Street said on Monday after press reports suggesting an incentive for commercial flights and an obligation to travel by bus. Based on government ratings it has obtained, the site Politico
reported on Sunday that world leaders will have to avoid private flights to travel to the UK for the funeral of the monarch, who died aged 96 on Thursday.

“Clearly, the modalities concerning in particular the means of transport of the leaders will vary according to individual constraints. Recommendations are only recommendations”said a spokesman for the British Prime Minister on Monday.

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The funeral of Elizabeth II will take place on September 19 at Westminster Abbey in London, a mecca for royal weddings, coronations and burials for nearly a millennium. The Queen’s funeral represents a huge security and logistical challenge for the authorities who, for these reasons, would have asked to give priority ” when it’s possible “ commercial flights to private planes to get to the UK.

500 dignitaries expected

Also forgotten are the helicopters to get around the British capital and the private cars to go to the funeral: world leaders could go to Westminster Abbey by bus, says Politico. “You imagine Joe Biden on a bus, you? », annoyed a foreign ambassador in London on Sunday, quoted by the online newspaper. The American president travels in his Air Force One plane and moves with his armored vehicle, nicknamed “The Beast”. “It’s up to the United States to decide how they prefer him (Biden) to travel”pointed out Downing Street.

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“This is a large-scale operation with some 500 dignitaries expected and an already huge crowd”told AFP a source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The logistics have been carefully prepared to make it as smooth as possible. » Either way, “space will be limited,” Downing Street has already warned, while Politico reports that only one representative per country and his or her husband or wife will be allowed inside the abbey.

A meticulous protocol

According to a document shared by the British Foreign Secretary, King Charles III will host a reception for all foreign heads of state at Buckingham Palace the evening before the funeral service. These guests will be able to attend the burial of the Queen’s body and sign the book of condolences at Lancaster House. In this last place, they will be offered to pay tribute to the late queen in front of an audience of media. Finally, on the day of the funeral, Heads of State and their partners will arrive at Westminster Abbey in coaches escorted from London. due to heightened security and road restrictions “.

Multiple layers of security will be in place throughout London and at all official venues used for state funerals and associated events says a second document from the same ministry, detailing logistical arrangements for people traveling from abroad.

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