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Who is and isn't invited to the queen's funeral?

September 18, 2022

It is expected to be the largest broadcast event in history: Millions will follow the funeral service of Queen Elizabeth II live on their screens. But who will, and who won't, attend the funeral in person?

Trauer um Queen Elizabeth I Totenwache der Enkel
Image: Aaron Chown/REUTERS

A select 2,000 invited guests are going to be present at Westminster Abbey to witness the pomp of Elizabeth II's funeral first-hand — without having to queue for hours to just get a glimpse of the royal coffin.

Among those with front-row seats are, of course, the many royal families of Europe, from Spain to Monaco to Norway and beyond. But many world leaders are also flying into the British capital to pay their last respects. That guest list, however, has become a highly politicized issue, highlighting the diplomatic red lines that the UK won't cross.

Here's a list of some who are — and others who aren't — invited to Monday's funeral service.



The White House confirmed that President Joe Biden and his wife Jill will attend the funeral. The president was even given special permission to use his own armored presidential limousine in London rather than coming in transport arranged by the British government.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will pay their respects to the queenImage: Sarah Silbiger/REUTERS


Outside Germany, many don't realize that Germany's head-of-state is actually President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was elected to his position in 2017. He'll be at the service among many other European and global dignitaries. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the German head-of-government, will have to stay home to watch the proceedings.


Elysee Palace announced that President Emmanuel Macron will be present to highlight his country's "unbreakable" bond with Britain. Those were measured words considering that the two countries have been at loggerheads over various issues since Britain left the European Union, after British Prime Minister Liz Truss said the "jury was still out" on whether Macron was a "friend or foe."


The presence of Taoiseach Micheal Martin is particularly poignant. The Irish prime minister will be paying tribute to Elizabeth II, who visited Ireland in 2011 in a gesture of reconciliation. She even spoke Gaelic in an attempt to address the bloody history between the two nations.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said he felt "deep sadness" over the queen's passingImage: Julien Behal/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

European Union

Despite the wounds of Brexit still healing, the EU hopes to keep its close ties with Britain. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will attend the state funeral alongside European Council head Charles Michel. Von der Leyen characterized the queen as "a legend."


President Isaac Herzog said he truly "grieved" the loss of the British sovereign. The Queen, who visited over 100 countries during her lifetime, never made it to Israel due to security concerns. But she always held the Jewish people in the highest regard: One of the few times she ignored royal protocol was when she interacted with a roomful of Holocaust survivors.


Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will depart from tradition and attend the queen's funeral. Traditionally, the emperor does not go to many funerals due to purity laws of the Shinto faith. This is also the first overseas trip of the pair since assuming the throne in 2019.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako bow in front of an altar
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako usually don't attend funerals, but are making an exception for Elizabeth IIImage: Behrouz Mehri/REUTERS


No surprises here: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are all set to come, as they still keep the British monarch as their head-of-state. Other expected attendees from the 56-nation-club include South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.



Ukraine, an ally of Britain, is in an active state of war with Russia. President Vladimir Putin has even been placed under a travel ban to the UK as part of the sanctions against his country. The foreign ministry in Moscow referred to the fact that no Russian representative would be included at the event as "deeply immoral."


Not only is Belarus propped up by its ally, Russia, but the country has also been a thorn in the side of much of the West for several years. Following President Alexander Lukashenko's dubious reelection in 2020, the European Union and its allies have placed sanctions on the hermit regime. This means no invitation for the Eastern European strongman.

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko
Persona non grata: Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko is not invited to the state funeralImage: BelTA/TASS/picture alliance


The so-called Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not recognized internationally, which is why it comes as no surprise that Taliban leaders like Mullah Hasan Akhund, who is currently the self-styled prime minister of Afghanistan, are not featured on the guest list.


Accusations of human rights abuses are mounting once more against the South Asian country's military junta. According to an intelligence source cited anonymously by AP, representatives from the former British colony are not welcome at the funeral.



President Volodymyr Zelensky will not attend the ceremony due to the ongoing war in his country. Traveling internationally could also expose the leader to dangers by Russian agents, who have a certain history of eliminating their enemies on British soil. However, his wife Olena Zelenska managed to travel to London to give her condolences.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a military ceremony
President Volodymyr Zelensky will not be attending, partly for security reasonsImage: Ukraine Presidential Press Service/AFP


Nigeria is a Commonwealth member, but instead of President Muhammadu Buhari, his vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, will come to represent the country at the funeral instead. It is believed that the president wants to keep a low profile when it comes to polarizing events, with five months to go to the next election.


President Emmerson Mnangagwa accepted the invitation to attend the event but announced later that he would send his Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Shava instead. Sentiments against the monarchy are strong in Zimbabwe, which only gained its independence from the crown in 1980.


North Korea

Pyongyang's ambassador has received an invitation to the funeral. Britain established diplomatic relations with the reclusive regime in 2000, but tensions remain over its nuclear program and human rights record. Meanwhile, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will also be at the event in Westminster Abbey, which could make for an awkward meeting.


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is not invited. However, despite Iranian state television referring to the late monarch as "one of the greatest criminals in the history of mankind" just earlier this week, an invitation at the level of ambassadorship was nevertheless sent to the Islamic Republic. Since Tehran has no ambassador in the UK, it might send another diplomat instead.


The BBC, which is financed by public funds in the UK, has been airing a new documentary series on Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, which likens the president to an authoritarian populist who makes excuses for the years of military dictatorship in the country. The leader is not best pleased with the media but appears to be setting diplomatic issues aside in order to attend the funeral.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro waves during a military parade
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is not happy with his recent portrayal in the British pressImage: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Sri Lanka

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has barely been in office two months after his predecessor had to leave the country in disgrace following a bloody uprising. However, Wickremesinghe's record thus far seems sketchy, since he gave himself extraordinary powers to override existing laws in the hope of keeping the peace as protests continue. His presence at an event miles away from home at such a critical time may not sit too well with the Sri Lankan public.


At first, it seemed unlikely that a Chinese representative was going to be invited to Elizabeth's funeral following months of saber rattling over Taiwan. However, China announced that Vice President Wang Qishan would attend the funeral as special representative of the president, Xi Jinping. Some UK legislators have criticized the move.

Monty Roberts

The queen's fondness for nature was perhaps most evident in her deep connection to horses. Over the years, she forged a somewhat unlikely friendship with professional "horse-whisperer" Roberts, with whom she shared a love of all things equine. The 87-year-old California cowboy will attend the service for his "friend,” sitting among kings, queens and world leaders for what he referred to as a "last meeting with the queen."

Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meet Monty Roberts
Queen Elizabeth became friends with Monty Roberts (r.), with whom she shared her enthusiasm for horsesImage: Chris Jackson/empics/picture alliance


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Sertan Sanderson A human who seeks to make sense of the world and wants understand what truly motivates peopleSertanSanderson
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