King Charles III met Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss as he arrived at Buckingham Palace, where he and Queen Consort Camilla will host the ‘reception of the century’ for 1,000 VIPs including world leaders and foreign royals this evening – as the nation holds a minute’s silence for his late mother the Queen on the eve of her state funeral.
The new monarch smiled and waved at well-wishers who cheered him as he was driven through the palace gates in the state Rolls-Royce this afternoon.
Charles then held a reception with the Prime Minister in the 1844 Room at 12.15pm, before he and Camilla will tonight host hundreds of dignitaries, from world leaders including US President Joe Biden, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau to senior members of the British royal family, ambassadors from almost all nations, and foreign royals including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and the Kings and Queens from Holland, Norway and Spain.
Most dignitaries are also expected to view the Queen’s coffin in the ancient heart of Parliament after being given a VIP timeslot – raising the prospect that mourners who have queued through the night will pay their respects with leaders of the free world.
However, guests asked to wear lounge suits and morning dress rather than ball gowns and white tie as would be expected at a usual state event at the King’s London home. They will arrive at 6pm for drinks and canapes in the Buckingham Palace picture gallery and state apartments.
And reports suggest that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were ‘uninvited’ to a state reception for world leaders and foreign royals this evening.
Mr Biden, who flew in late last night, said that the Queen ‘defined an era’ after she reigned for a record-breaking 70 years. Australia’s anti-monarchy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who viewed the lying-in-state and met Charles yesterday, told Sky News Australia that the Queen was ‘a constant reassuring presence’. There was also a private audience at Buckingham Palace for Ms Ardern, which like Australia and 12 other Commonwealth realms now counts Charles as its sovereign.
King Charles III receives Prime Minister Liz Truss in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace
King Charles III receives Prime Minister Liz Truss
The King met with the Prime Minister in the 1844 Room in Buckingham Palace
King Charles smiled as he was driven through the gates of Buckingham Palace
King Charles smiling and waving at well-wishers as he arrives at Buckingham Palace
King Charles arrive at Buckingham Palace ahead of a grand reception of 1,000 VIPs
Well-wishers cheered and waved at the monarch as he was driven in the state Rolls-Royce to the palace
King Charles III passing well-wishers as he arrives at Buckingham Palace
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Stansted on Air Force One last night
Britain’s King Charles III speaks with Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, as he receives realm prime ministers in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace yesterday
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Trudeau pay respects to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Hall
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte will be heading to London for the event
Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia are expected at the Buckingham Palace reception
The discussion between King Charles III (left) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) was kept secret due to ‘protocol’, but Mr Albanese hinted that they discussed environment issues, including climate change
Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) the Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Princess Eugenie, the Duke of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil
Members of the public pay their respects as they pass Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin
Police are seen in Westminster as they secure the area between Westminster Hall and Buckingham Palace
London braces for Queen’s funeral: Hundreds of mourners camp out on Mall with TWO MILLION set to descend on capital to pay their respects with crowds 8ft-deep lining roads inside TWELVE-mile ‘ring of steel’
London is bracing for two million people to descend on the city to watch the late Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral on Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow as 10,000 police officers prepare to instigate a 12-mile ‘ring of steel’ as part of the largest-ever security operation in the UK.
The funeral is expected to be the most-watched event ever televised, with tens of thousands expected to line the streets to say goodbye to the Queen, who reigned for more than 70 years before passing away at Balmoral last Thursday.
Police are preparing a ‘ring of steel’ around central London to protect the royal family and hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries at the event, which takes place tomorrow morning.
Around 10,000 officers will be on duty along the funeral procession route alone to control the crowds, which are expected to be up to eight feet deep in some places.
Those intending to travel to or be in the capital on Monday are being warned to expect major travel disruption, with London’s public transport expected to be ‘much busier’ than normal.
Hundreds of thousands of people are thought the be on their way to London today, with trains, roads and airports all expected to be hit by high passenger numbers. Road closures and Underground station closures will be in place from early tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile hundreds of people are already camping out along the funeral route, including along The Mall and outside Westminster Palace.
And 22-miles of barriers as well as public viewing stands have been erected along the funeral procession route.
It comes as tens of thousands of people continue to queue to see the Queen lying in state, with the queue expected to close within hours.
It is thought Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle received an invitation to the event, hosted by King Charles and the Queen Consort, earlier in the week.
But the couple are now unlikely to attend after officials at Buckingham Palace insisted the reception was for working royals only, it is understood.
The confusion over Harry and Meghan’s invitation points to issues with communication between the Californian-based couple and the Royal Family, according to the Daily Telegraph. It follows an apparent U-turn over Harry’s right to wear military uniform despite being a non-working royal.
The Palace is understood to have intervened to allow Harry to wear his regalia to a 15-minute vigil at Westminster Hall yesterday. Harry had previously said he would wear a morning suit to all the funeral events.
The funeral of the only monarch most Britons have known involves the biggest security operation London has ever seen.
Mayor Sadiq Khan says tomorrow’s state funeral is an ‘unprecedented’ security challenge, with hundreds of thousands of people packing central London and a funeral guest list of 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world.
‘It’s been decades since this many world leaders were in one place,’ Mr Khan said. ‘This is unprecedented … in relation to the various things that we’re juggling.’
‘There could be bad people wanting to cause damage to individuals or to some of our world leaders,’ he told The Associated Press. ‘So we are working incredibly hard – the police, the security services and many, many others – to make sure this state funeral is as successful as it can be.’
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the ‘hugely complex’ policing operation is the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics.
‘Our response here in London will be proportionate, it will be balanced, and officers will only be taking action where it is absolutely necessary,’ he said.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said the goal was to keep the event safe, ‘and try to do it in as unobtrusive a way as possible, because this is obviously a solemn occasion.’
More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty Monday, with London officers supplemented by reinforcements from all of Britain’s 43 police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces will also act as stewards along the processional route.
They are just the most visible part of a security operation that is being run from a high-tech control center near Lambeth Bridge, not far from Parliament.
Street drains and garbage bins are being searched and sealed. Tomorrow there will be police spotters on rooftops, sniffer dogs on the streets, marine officers on the River Thames and mounted police on horseback.
Flying drones over Central London has been temporarily banned, and Heathrow Airport is grounding scores of flights so that aircraft noise does not disturb the funeral service.
Authorities face the challenge of keeping 500 world leaders safe, without ruffling too many diplomatic feathers. Presidents, prime ministers and royalty will gather offsite before being taken by bus to the abbey – though an exception is being made for Mr Biden, who is expected to arrive in his armored limousine, known as The Beast.
Another challenge is the sheer size of the crowds expected to gather around Westminster Abbey and along the route the coffin will travel after the funeral, past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park. From there it will be taken by hearse about 20 miles to Windsor, where another 2,000 police officers will be on duty.
The Queen is due to be interred in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99.
King Charles arrives at Buckingham Palace
Road closures on Monday include The Mall, Whitehall, Chelsea Embankment, Victoria Embankment and Kensington Road
Police officers patrol the area around Westminster, including Westminster Hall, and Buckingham Palace
Armed police are deployed in the capital as UK forces step up their presence in the city
Police and military personnel secure the area around Buckingham Palace ahead of the state funeral
Selfies are taken along The Mall ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral
Joe Biden and Jill Biden leave London Stansted airport with their motorcade ahead of the funeral
Members of the public view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II
Harry and Meghan’s children Archie, 3, and 15-month-old Lilibet were left at home in America as Sussexes have attended vigils for the Queen this week, reports say
The whereabouts of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children remained unknown last night in the final hours before the Queen’s funeral.
While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been at the vigil in Westminster Hall this week, Archie, 3, and 15-month-old Lilibet are believed to have remained behind in America.
According to reports, they have been at the couple’s home in Montecito, California under the care of nannies and the Duchess’s mother Doria Ragland.
The grandmother, the only member of Meghan’s family to have attended the royal wedding, was seen out alone in Los Angeles on Friday.
Harry and Meghan had been on a whistlestop tour of the UK and Germany lasting less than a week and had been due to fly back to the US on the day the Queen died, Thursday 8 September.
The two small children joined the late Queen at a private lunch in Windsor around the around the time of Lilibet’s first birthday in June, according to Omid Scobie, the author who is close to the Duke and Duchess.
Police are deploying more than 22 miles of barriers in central London to control the crowds, and transit bosses are preparing for jam-packed stations, buses and subway trains as 1million people flood the ceremonial heart of London. Subways will run later than normal and train companies are adding extra services to help get people home.
While many will be mourning the queen, support for the monarchy is far from universal. Police have already drawn criticism for arresting several people who staged peaceful protests during events related to the queen’s death and the accession of King Charles III.
Mr Cundy said it had been made clear to officers that ‘people have a right to protest.’
The final day of the Queen’s lying in state is set to take place, while a minute’s silence will be held later to mourn her death.
The late monarch’s coffin will remain in Westminster Hall for the public to view until 6.30am on Monday, ahead of the state funeral in Westminster Abbey, with Sunday likely to be the last chance to join the queue.
Tens of thousands of mourners are still queueing for at least 13 hours on the final day of Her Majesty’s lying-in-state at the Palace of Westminster before her coffin is removed from public view at 6.30am tomorrow, the morning of her state funeral at Westminster Abbey.
At 8pm, the country will observe a one-minute silence to remember the Queen, with people invited to mark the occasion privately at home, on their doorstep or street, or at community events and vigils.
It will come shortly after the Queen Consort pays a televised tribute to the late monarch, recalling her ‘wonderful blue eyes’ and saying: ‘I will always remember her smile.’
Camilla, in pre-recorded words on the BBC, will speak of how Queen Elizabeth II was a ‘solitary woman’ in a male-dominated world.
She will add: ‘I can’t remember anyone except the Queen being there.’
There will also be a service of reflection near Falkirk, Scotland at 7.30pm.
The DCMS has said the historic occasion will be shown on giant screens in various locations across the UK – from London’s Hyde Park to Coleraine Town Hall in Northern Ireland.
Around 125 cinemas will also be screening the event – along with Sky News, ITV and the BBC for people watching from home.
On Saturday evening, the Queen’s eight grandchildren together staged a heart-rending evening vigil around their beloved Granny’s coffin.
The Prince of Wales, at the head of the coffin, with his brother the Duke of Sussex at the foot, both in the Blues and Royals No 1 uniform, stood with their heads bowed in her honour in sombre silence in the vast Westminster Hall.
Members of the public stand in the queue in the early hours of the morning, near Tower Briddge, as they wait in line to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. The ‘Elizabeth Line’ will close today
Future king William was flanked at the corners by his cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Philips.
Harry was between Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, with 18-year-old Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn – the Queen’s youngest grandchild who is just 14 – at the middle on either side of the coffin.
The grandchildren, invited by the King, had wanted to pay their respects as their parents had done the evening before.
William and the King also went on a walkabout in the afternoon to greet mourners in the queue for the lying in state, after Charles was given a tour of the Metropolitan Police Service Special Operations Room.
Hundreds of people in line at Lambeth, south London, cheered and applauded, with William and Charles shaking scores of hands and the prince discussing how long people had waited and whether they were able to keep warm.