Live updates: Funeral invitation for China rankles with some
LONDON — A group of British legislators sanctioned by China have written to officials expressing concerns that the Chinese government has been invited to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
Conservative lawmaker Tim Loughton told the BBC on Thursday the invitation to China should be rescinded, citing the country’s human rights abuses and treatment of Uyghurs in the far western region of Xinjiang.
Britain “can’t possibly have official representatives of the Chinese government attending such an important occasion,” he said.
The Chinese ambassador to the U.K. is banned from Parliament after Beijing sanctioned seven British legislators last year over their stance on China.
It is not clear whether President Xi Jinping, currently meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Uzbekistan, will attend Monday’s state funeral. Media reports suggest Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan may attend.
Russia, Belarus and Myanmar were not included in the funeral invitation list.
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LONDON — Thousands of people have turned up at Sandringham Estate, the royal country estate in Norfolk, to greet Prince William and his wife Catherine.
The royal couple appeared outside the gates of the estate to view the sea of floral tributes left for Queen Elizabeth II and to greet thousands of well-wishers.
A large crowd gathered outside the country residence on the eastern English coast early Thursday, hoping for a chance to meet and speak with the couple.
William and Kate, known since the queen’s death as the Prince and Princess of Wales, walked slowly along metal barriers as they received bouquets from the public and chatted to well-wishers.
Sandringham was the queen’s country retreat, where she spent some of her childhood years and where she presided over many Christmas family gatherings.
LONDON — Buckingham Palace has announced that two minutes of silence will be observed across the United Kingdom at the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
The funeral is to be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday, with some 2,000 guests attending, including visiting heads of state and other dignitaries.
Officials said Thursday that after the funeral, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun carriage.
It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the queen will be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.
LONDON — While mourners in London are standing in a 4-mile (6.5-kilometer) line to view Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin lying in state, members of the royal family are meeting crowds gathered in other parts of Britain.
Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, went to Manchester in northern England on Thursday to view tributes left for the queen and speak to well-wishers.
Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, was due to visit Glasgow in Scotland later in the day with her husband, Sir Tim Laurence.
Meanwhile, the Prince and Princess of Wales were to view flowers left outside Sandringham House in Norfolk, in eastern England.
King Charles III, the new monarch, spent a day in private.
LONDON — Standing in line to see the queen’s coffin as it lies in state in London is proving a test of patience and stamina for thousands of people.
By late Thursday morning, the line had grown to about 3½ miles (5.6 kilometers) long on the south bank of the River Thames, reaching as far as Tower Bridge.
Authorities warn those planning to come: “You will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down, as the queue will keep moving.”
The closed coffin sits on a raised platform, called a catafalque, inside Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament.
Visitors go through airport-style security. Only small bags are permitted.
The venue is to stay open 24 hours a day until just after dawn on Monday, the day of the queen’s state funeral.
LONDON — The spiritual leader of the Church of England has been meeting mourners in the long line of people waiting patiently to pay their last respects to Queen Elizabeth II.
Wearing a high-visibility vest, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was on hand Thursday to speak to some of the thousands of people in the queue along the south bank of the River Thames.
He paid tribute to the late monarch, who died last Thursday at age 96, ending a 70-year reign.
“She was someone you could trust totally, completely and absolutely, whose wisdom was remarkable,” he said.
Her death and transfer of the crown to her son, King Charles III, “means we will move seamlessly to another person who will demonstrate service for the country, and see their role not as over everyone, but to serve the country and the constitution,” Welby said.
LONDON — Thousands of people have stood in line through the night in London, waiting their turn to view Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin as it lies in state.
Authorities said the line on Thursday stretched about 2.6 miles (4.2 kilometers) along the south bank of the River Thames.
The queen’s flag-draped oak coffin is lying in state at 900-year-old Westminster Hall for four days before her funeral on Monday.
People, hushed and somber, streamed past each side of the coffin.
Military detachments standing guard are rotated every 20 minutes.
One of the ceremonial guards appeared to faint early Thursday and fell off the raised platform. His condition was not immediately clear.
The queen died in Scotland last Thursday at age 96, ending a 70-year reign.
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has sent King Charles III his condolences and offered him his full support in addressing “common challenges.”
Those challenges include “the protection of the climate and the planet,” a statement from the French presidency said.
Before he became monarch after last week’s death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles often spoke out on those issues. But as sovereign he is expected to tread more carefully in his political comments.
Macron spoke with the king by phone on Wednesday. He said on Twitter he will attend the Queen’s funeral.