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royal funeral

World leaders travel to London as queuers face 14-hour wait to see queen's coffin

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin paid their respects to the queen in London today.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Sep 2022

WORLD LEADERS ARE travelling to the UK ahead of tomorrow’s funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London.

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin both paid their respects to the queen at her lying in state in Westminster Hall today.

Martin said that the late queen “made an enormous contribution” to reconciliation and Anglo-Irish relations through “her authentic actions”.

Speaking to reporters, the Taoiseach said that “her warmth, her authentic actions, and by actions and by what she did, she made an enormous contribution”.

“I think it also reflects the breadth and the depth of the relationship between Britain and Ireland. Between the British people and the Irish people, and many Irish in Britain, for whom this is a sad occasion in terms of the passing of Queen Elizabeth.

“She was a constant in many lives for a long long time. An extraordinary, historic reign.

“I do appreciate the invitation to be here, accompanying the president, on such a sad occasion, but also one which allows us to reflect, to recognise Queen Elizabeth’s contribution to the quality of life and particularly reconciliation between these two islands, and was happy to take that opportunity.”

Martin also met UK Prime Minister Liz Truss today.

Truss is also meeting Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Polish president Andrzej Duda in Downing Street.

Truss had been due to meet US president Joe Biden, a milestone of her early premiership, but the talks were cancelled, with a “full bilateral meeting” scheduled instead for Wednesday, when they are set to be in New York for the UN General Assembly.

She will also have an audience with King Charles III before attending his reception for visiting heads of state at Buckingham Palace.

The king will host world leaders and official overseas guests at the palace, in what the king’s spokesman described as an “official state event”.

Queen queue

The final day of the queen’s lying in state is taking place and the official online tracker said the estimated queuing time was at least 14 hours this morning – significantly shorter than the peak of more than 25 hours that was seen in the early hours yesterday morning.

A one-minute silence is planned in the UK for 8pm, with people invited to mark the occasion privately at home, on their doorstep or street, or at community events and vigils.

Yesterday evening, the queen’s eight grandchildren together staged an evening vigil around their grandmother’s 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.

At Westminster Abbey, final preparations are being put in place ready for the funeral tomorrow.

Additional reporting from Céimin Burke

Press Association
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