The Daily Telegraph

Emperor will take bus to funeral with global politician­s and heads of state

Foreign dignitarie­s will travel by coach to ensure schedule is on time and to keep events secure

- By Ben Riley-smith POLITICAL EDITOR

EMPEROR NARUHITO of Japan will be among hundreds of foreign dignitarie­s to be taken by bus to Westminste­r Abbey on Monday for Queen Elizabeth II’S funeral.

The Foreign Office is laying on collective transport for almost all of those attending in an attempt to control timings and keep the event secure.

It means that hundreds of the most important political and royal figures in their respective countries will have to share transport to reach the service for the late Queen.

Sources familiar with the plans suggested that high-end coaches will be used for moving dignitarie­s to and from the service.

A few exceptions are expected, however. Joe Biden, the US president, who normally travels in a heavily fortified car nicknamed the Beast, is expected to take his own transport to the funeral.

The Emperor’s attendance with Empress Masako is noteworthy. Funeral attendance­s from the Japanese Emperor are rare, according to Politico, the political news outlet, given the Shinto religion believes death is impure.

But the 62-year-old ruler, who took the throne in 2019, is something of an Anglophile. He studied at Oxford University and developed a friendship with the late Queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Emperor stayed at Balmoral, the Scottish royal estate, in the early 1980s when studying in the UK, and his father attended Queen Elizabeth’s coronation three decades earlier.

Confirming the attendance, Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said: “The British Royal family and our imperial family enjoy a long and close relationsh­ip, one that stretches back three generation­s from the current Emperor, to the emperor emeritus [former Emperor Akihito], to Emperor Showa.”

The Japanese Emperor and Empress are not the only royals flying into the UK to mark the passing of the late Queen, who made more overseas trips than any other British monarch.

The Daily Telegraph has seen a list detailing more than 20 high-profile overseas royal family members who are expected to attend the funeral.

From Europe, attendance is expected from the King of the Belgians, the Queen of Denmark, the Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenst­ein, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the Prince of Monaco, and the Kings of the Netherland­s, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

Others present will include the King of Bhutan, the Sultan of Brunei, the Crown Prince of Kuwait, the Malaysian Sultan, the Sultan of Oman, the Amir of the State of Qatar, the King of Tonga and the president of the UAE.

For Saudi Arabia, an acceptance has been received from King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-saud. Invitation­s were sent to heads of states.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely seen by political commentato­rs as the real power behind the Saudi throne, is also expected to be in the UK in the coming days.

He will deliver his country’s condolence­s to the Royal family, according to The Guardian. However it is unclear whether he will attend the funeral.

The Crown Prince, known as MBS, has not visited the UK since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist, in October 2018, which led to the imposition of UK sanctions.

In total, around 500 guests from 200 countries and territorie­s will be present at the funeral. Among them will be nearly 100 presidents and heads of government.

A source working on the plans likened it to organising 100 state visits at once – a mammoth diplomatic effort, which has involved the work of 400 officials at the Foreign Office.

The furthest travelled is believed to be the 11,000 miles flown by Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, who is already in the UK.

Like all of the 14 Commonweal­th realms, New Zealand has been able to invite 10 extra guests – selected by the realm – to attend the funeral.

Among the New Zealand delegation is Tuheitia Paki, the Maori King.

Each member of the G7 group of nations will have a representa­tive. As well as the Japanese Emperor, attendees will include Emmanuel Macron, the French president; Mr Biden; Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister; Frank-walter Steinmeier, the German president; and Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president.

Liz Truss, the Prime Minister, will hold brief talks over the weekend with some of her counterpar­ts, including Mr Biden, but the gatherings will not be formal bilateral meetings, because of the period of mourning.

 ?? ?? Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will attend the funeral
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will attend the funeral

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