No fewer than 500 world leaders, made up of heads of state and government will grace the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II today (Monday).
Africa Daily News, New York reports that the guests and dignitaries have already started to arrive in London for the final rites of the UK monarch, who had earlier passed away last Thursday, September 8 at the age of 96.
The Queen’s death has literally brought the UK to a standstill as the funeral rites have dominated activities in the country and beyond in honour of the Queen, who reigned for 70 years, the longest so far in the history of the British Monarchy.
US President, Joe Biden and First Lady Jill on Sunday paid their respects to the Queen at Westminster Hall.
Earlier Ukraine First Lady Olena Zelenkyy was seen paying respect to the Queen.
The Nigerian Delegation is led by Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who is representing President Muhammadu Buhari, who is in the United States for the United Nations General Assembly.
Canadian Prime Minister Justine Traudaeu, the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito, and Empress Masato among others have also confirmed their attendance.
In the meantime, London police chiefs and medics are bracing up for a security nightmare at the Queen’s funeral as they balance the need to protect the world’s top leaders and dignitaries with the public’s desire to mourn their much-loved monarch.
Some have compared the event in scale to the London Olympics, however, the state funeral, the first in Britain since Winston Churchill died in 1965, is likely to dwarf the 2012 sporting extravaganza.
Codenamed ‘Operation London Bridge,’ arrangements for Britain’s longest-serving monarch have been carefully pored over for years by the many agencies involved, with the Queen herself signing off on every detail before her death.
The city has already seen unprecedented crowds viewing the official lying-in-state, which will run until 6.30 a.m. (1.30 a.m. ET) on Monday, just hours before the funeral procession to Westminster Abbey commences. The sheer numbers caused queueing to be temporarily paused on Friday.