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President Murmu attends British queen's funeral

By Aditi Khanna
September 19, 2022 21:13 IST
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President Droupadi Murmu on Monday joined around 500 world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and royals from across the world, at Westminster Abbey for a sombre ceremony to bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch.

IMAGE: President Droupadi Murmu during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, United Kingdom, September 19, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo

President Murmu and Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra formed the official Indian delegation at the State funeral of the British monarch at Westminster Abbey.

They arrived at the Abbey in a procession alongside other Commonwealth heads of state and government.

President Murmu, who is in London on a three-day visit, met with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her sister, Sheikh Rehana, before joining the 2,000-strong congregation at the Abbey.

 

"President Droupadi Murmu met with Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and her sister, Sheikh Rehana, just before commencement of the State funeral at London,” Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted.

She also met with Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan in an official reception at the State funeral of the monarch. Hassan is the first woman president of Tanzania.

On Sunday, President Murmu signed a condolence book on behalf of the Indian government at Lancaster House in London. She also paid her respects at Westminster Hall, where Britain's longest-serving monarch was lying-in-state until the morning of the funeral.

She later attended a reception hosted by King Charles at Buckingham Palace along with all other visiting world leaders on Sunday evening.

"President Droupadi Murmu attended the State funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, London," Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted.

The queen's State funeral began as chimes of the Big Ben fell silent and hymns rang out as the coffin of the late monarch was carried into Westminster Abbey on Monday morning.

The funeral for the late queen, who died aged 96 at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, was held at Westminster Abbey, in the presence of thousands of guests and millions watching on screens worldwide.

While British Prime Minister Liz Truss did a Bible reading at the funeral service, former Prime Ministers Boris Johnson, Theresa May, David Cameron, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were also among those in the VIP gathering.

Most of the foreign dignitaries arrived in buses, ferried there from a meeting point in west London, and waited at Westminster Abbey for over an hour before the Queen's coffin arrived after being conveyed there on a state gun carriage from Westminster Hall.

Biden, however, arrived at the Abbey in his bullet-proof Cadillac named the ’Beast’.

China's Vice-President Wang Qishan attended as the special representative of President Xi Jinping, amid concerns about the country's invitation among British members of Parliament who have been sanctioned by the Chinese regime over their human rights activism.

Among the royals in attendance were Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, Moroccan Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, representing his father King Mohammed VI, the Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Princess Beatrix, and Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.

President Murmu will fly back to Delhi later on Monday evening after a reception hosted by UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at Church House in the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

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Aditi Khanna in London
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