The state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II took place in London on Monday, attended by some 500 personalities from around 200 countries and territories, including the Emperor and Empress of Japan.
After the funeral service, the Queen was laid to rest at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a royal residence in west London, with hundreds of thousands of mourners on the streets and in other places around the city.
With US President Joe Biden and other world leaders in attendance, local reports said more than 10,000 police were mobilized, making it one of the nation’s largest security operations for a single event.
Buckingham Palace did not release a list of those present at the funeral, but Reuters and other media said some 2,000 people attended, including around 500 dignitaries from around 200 countries and territories.
Britain last held a state funeral for former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.
The day before the funeral, Japanese Emperor Naruhito went to Westminster Hall to pay his respects to the Queen. Empress Masako did not accompany him given his physical condition.
“I quietly bid farewell with deep gratitude,” the emperor said, as quoted by his aide.
Ahead of the visit, the Japanese Emperor, among other dignitaries, joined a reception hosted by King Charles III at the palace to offer condolences over the Queen’s death at the age of 96 on September 8. .
At the event, Emperor Naruhito also conveyed condolences given to him by former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko, according to a senior Imperial Household Agency official.
The emperor also had the opportunity to exchange words with royal families in Europe, including the Netherlands, and the king and queen of Bhutan, the official said.
Arriving in London on Saturday, it marks the Japanese imperial couple’s first overseas trip since the Emperor’s accession to the throne in May 2019 and a break from convention for an emperor, who typically does not make appearances at funeral at home or abroad.
The only previous exception was in 1993, when Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the funeral of Belgian King Baudouin.
The Japanese and British royal families share a long-standing bond, with the Queen’s 70-year reign overlapping that of three Japanese emperors.
Former Emperor Akihito, then Crown Prince, attended the Queen’s coronation in 1953 on behalf of Emperor Hirohito, known posthumously as Emperor Showa. The Queen then made the first visit by a British monarch to Japan in 1975.
The British Royal Family invited Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako to visit Britain following his accession to the throne following his father’s abdication, but the plan was canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The funeral was preceded by a 10-day period of national mourning in Britain, with flags at half mast and normal government operations suspended.
During the period, the Queen’s coffin was transported from Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she died, to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. From there, the coffin was taken to London for display.
The casket had been placed in public view for four days before the state funeral to allow the public to pay their last respects.
People joined a mile-long queue across central London to pay their respects, with many waiting more than 12 hours to pass the coffin.
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