TIRANA, Sept. 17, 2022 – Albanian President Bajram Begaj is traveling to London to participate in the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, his office said in a statement.
Albania’s head of state received an invitation from King Charles III to join tens of counterparts to attend the funeral and related ceremonies.
As part of the ceremonial agenda, President Begaj and First Lady Armanda Begaj will also participate at a reception organized by the UK Foreign Office.
On Sept. 8, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-living and longest-reigning British monarch, died at the age of 96. She was succeeded by her eldest child, Charles III.
The United Kingdom is observing a national mourning period of 10 days. A state funeral service will be held at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, followed by a committal service later that day at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The state funeral is set to be held at Westminster Abbey, marking the first time that a monarch’s funeral service is held at Westminster Abbey since George II in 1760, and the first state funeral in Britain since that of Winston Churchill in 1965.
In terms of the complexity of logistical planning, diplomatic protocol, and security, Elizabeth II’s funeral will be the largest such event in the UK since the Churchill state funeral, with up to 500 foreign dignitaries, including heads of state, expected to attend.
Leaders and heads of state from across the globe will come together in central London on Monday to attend the state funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Around 500 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the service at Westminster Abbey, including U.S. President Joe Biden, kings and queens from across Europe, and leaders of Commonwealth nations.
Among the national leaders in Europe who have confirmed their attendance is French President Emmanuel Macron. Other high-profile leaders from Europe who are coming, as reported by Reuters, are German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Irish President Michael D. Higgins.
Heads of state from the Commonwealth have also confirmed that they are attending, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian President Droupadi Murmu.
Members of royal families across Europe have confirmed that they are attending, including Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, and the previous Spanish king and queen, Juan Carlos and Sofia. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II and her heir, Crown Prince Frederik, will also be attending.
Royal households from Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium have all confirmed that they will be traveling to London for the funeral, according to Reuters. Monarchs attending from outside Europe include Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan is expected to attend. Turkey is sending its foreign minister. Pope Francis said will send a senior representative from the Vatican.
Invitations were issued to every country with which Britain maintains diplomatic relations, with the exception of Russia and Belarus, which the UK is at loggerheads over the invasion of Ukraine. Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan leaders were also not invited due to having suspended or cut off diplomatic ties with the UK.
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