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LONDON — World leaders descended on London on Sunday ahead of the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II as the line to pay respects as she lay in state continued to snake more than 5 miles along the southern banks of the River Thames.
A steady stream of people defied advice to refrain from joining the line to say goodbye to the queen before the cutoff at 6:30 a.m. Monday. They faced potential wait times of longer than 13 hours and braved cold overnight temperatures.
On Saturday evening, Princes William, Harry and the queen’s six other grandchildren held a vigil around her coffin in Westminster Hall. Notably, Harry wore his military uniform, even though he is no longer serving as a working royal.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden landed late Saturday.
They visited the queen as she lay in state and signed her condolence book at Lancaster House on Sunday afternoon before they traveled to Buckingham Palace to attend an official reception hosted by King Charles III on the eve of the state funeral.
Prince George, Princess Charlotte expected to attend funeral
LONDON — Prince William and his wife Catherine’s 9-year-old son, Prince George, and 7-year-old daughter, Princess Charlotte, are expected to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, according to the funeral’s order of service.
George, who is now second in line to the throne, and his sister will walk through Westminster Abbey with the royal family in procession behind the queen’s coffin as it is carried by pallbearers Monday.
George and Charlotte will walk together behind their parents, followed by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and other royal family members.
The royal children’s 4-year-old brother, Prince Louis, is not expected to attend.
Palace releases an image of a smiling Queen Elizabeth
This previously unseen photo of Queen Elizabeth was released late Sunday by Buckingham Palace. It was taken in May at Windsor Castle.
The queue to pay respects to the queen has officially closed
The United Kingdom's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has officially closed the queue to pay final respects to Queen Elizabeth II. The last estimated wait time was eight hours.
Her state funeral is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. London time (6 a.m. ET) after a short procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey.
More than 2,000 people are expected to attend.
King Charles III thanks public for support
Britain's King Charles III on Sunday thanked members of the public in the U.K. and around the world for their support after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
"My wife and I have been so deeply touched by the many messages of condolence and support we have received," the king wrote in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.
The king also described how the royal family has been "moved beyond measure" by members of the public who have paid their respects in London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Charles also thanked the "countless people" who have been of such support and comfort to "my family and myself in this time of grief."
Queen Elizabeth II honored with moment of silence across Britain
LONDON — People across Britain have paused for minute of silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II on the eve of her funeral.
The government had encouraged people to spend a minute in reflection at home, with neighbors or in locally organized ceremonies.
In Westminster Hall, where the queen is lying in state, the line of mourners halted for 60 seconds.
The queen is due to be laid to rest at Windsor Castle on Monday after a state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London attended by royalty, heads of state and dignitaries from around the world.
'Our hearts go out to the Royal family': The Bidens' condolence book inscriptions
Here's what the Bidens wrote in their condolence signings for the queen, according to the White House.
Queen Elizabeth was admired around the world for her unwavering commitment to service. She treated everyone with dignity and respect. Jill and I were honored to have met with her and feel her warmth. Our hearts go out to the Royal family and the people of the United Kingdom.President Joe Biden
Queen Elizabeth II lived her life for the people she served with wisdom and grace. We will never forget her warmth, kindness, and the conversations we shared. May God grant her eternal rest.First lady Jill Biden
Meet the mourners spending hours in line to say goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II
The line for mourners waiting to pay their final respects to Queen Elizabeth II has stretched 5 miles across London, resulting in a stream of people willing to wait at least 13 hours to say their last goodbyes.
Photographer Alice Zoo walked the route Saturday, starting from the end of the line at London’s Southwark Park to its beginning at Westminster Bridge, asking loyal subjects how long they’d been waiting and how much longer they thought they might have to go.
Ukraine’s first lady appears at Westminster Hall to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth II
LONDON — Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, has appeared at London’s Westminster Hall to pay her respects to Queen Elizabeth II.
British royal officials said Zelenska also met with Catherine, the Princess of Wales, at Buckingham Palace on Sunday afternoon. They did not release further details.
World leaders, including President Joe Biden, have flown into London to attend the queen’s funeral service Monday.
Zelenska is expected to join 2,000 dignitaries and guests in Westminster Abbey for the service. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is not expected to attend as the war in Ukraine continues.
Bidens arrive at Buckingham Palace for King Charles’ reception
The president and the first lady have arrived at Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by King Charles III ahead of the queen's state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday.
President and first lady pay respects to Queen Elizabeth II in London
Biden signs book of condolences for the queen
Biden signed the book of condolence for Queen Elizabeth II, with the first lady standing behind him, at Lancaster House.
In brief remarks after the signing, the president praised the queen for her "honorable" service and recalled times when she would have him over for tea, saying he “kept eating everything she put in front of me.”
“It’s a loss that leaves a giant hole that sometimes you think you’ll never overcome it,” Biden said. “But as I’ve told the king, she is going to be with him every step of the way.”
The first lady later signed a separate book of condolence at the bottom of a staircase in the mansion in London's West End.
British army veteran joins line to see queen
A British army veteran traveled more than 160 miles to join the long line of people in London waiting to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.
Sporting a chest full of medals from his years of military service, Bob Thompson, 61, said he and his wife had come from Somerset, in southwest England, for the funeral.
“We made the last-minute decision to join the queue,” Thompson said. He added that he did not mind waiting in line for the estimated 14 hours it could take to get to Westminster Hall in central London, where the queen is lying in state.
“I’m turning 62 tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll spend it with the queen.”
Bidens pay respects to the queen at Westminster Hall
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to Westminster Hall on Sunday to pay their respects to the queen as she lay in state.
The Bidens were seen with the U.S. ambassador to the U.K., Jane Hartley, on a balcony overlooking the mourners. The president, who is Catholic, made the sign of the cross to the crowd.
Royal lying in state traditions endure a century of change
When Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather, King George V, died 86 years ago, many homes in Britain had little or no electricity and large parts of the population still lived in slums.
Life in 1936 is unrecognizable to Britons today. But despite almost a century of change, the images from the queen’s lying in state this week are almost exact copies of those from when George V lay in state.
Both used the same vast, medieval Westminster Hall with the coffin resting on a royal purple platform in the middle. A brass cross is at one end of the coffin, the royal standard is draped on top, and tall candlesticks and scarlet and gold-clad ceremonial guards are carefully placed around it.
Historians say maintaining such traditions consistently through time is crucial to preserving reverence for the monarchy.
Chinese officials barred from visiting the queen's lying in state
Chinese officials have been barred from visiting the Westminster Hall for the queen's lying in state, House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told the BBC on Sunday.
The decision to bar the Chinese ambassador and accredited officials from attending Westminster Hall in Parliament came after seven members of the British Parliament and a peer were sanctioned by Beijing last year.
"To hold a reception in the House of Commons when MPs and a peer have been sanctioned is not acceptable," he said.
'You're doing great!' Steward cheers as thousands line up
As the masses marched through mazes at Southwark Park to pick up their wristbands to allow them to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster, steward Rabia Sheikh cheered them on.
“Good afternoon, beautiful people,” Sheikh, 33, said, smiling, and with an increasingly hoarse voice, “You’re doing great! Well done.”
A muffled Big Ben to punctuate last days of mourning
Parliament's iconic clock bell, known as Big Ben, will ring Sunday at 8 p.m. (3 p.m. ET) to mark what the government has called a national moment of reflection.
The bell will then be rung again after the end of the minute of silence, according to a statement from Parliament, with a muffler being used to produce a quieter tone. Big Ben will again toll on Monday at one-minute intervals as a huge procession departs after the state funeral service.
'Dear Mummy': Prince Andrew's personal tribute to the queen
Prince Andrew, the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II, released a personal tribute to the late monarch on Sunday.
"Mummy, your love for a son, your compassion, your care, your confidence I will treasure forever," the Duke of York said in a statement.
In recent years, Andrew has defended himself against allegations of sexually abusing underage women through his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, who was convicted of procuring a child for prostitution.
In January, Buckingham Palace announced that Andrew was returning his military affiliations and royal patronages to his mother the queen. In February, he settled a lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, who alleged that she was 17 years old when she was trafficked by Epstein and abused by Andrew.
'Worth it': Mourner who joined line at 2:30 a.m. has no regrets
Dave Wheeler of Birmingham said he picked up a wristband that will allow him to see the queen lying in state at around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday (9 p.m. Saturday ET) in Southwark Park in South London.
By 10 a.m. he’d gotten near the London Eye, which is a short walk from Westminster Hall where Elizabeth's casket is. He figured he had another dozen hours of slow walking to go before he reached the queen.
“It’s worth it,” Wheeler, 71, said. “The biggest challenge facing King Charles is holding the Commonwealth together. The queen was the glue.”
More than 1,000 mourners in line have received medical treatment
More than 1,000 people in line to see the queen's coffin and in surrounding areas have received medical treatment since Wednesday, London's ambulance service said Sunday.
Out of almost 300 patients, 17 had been taken to the hospital on Wednesday, it said. That number had climbed to 55 out of 400 on Saturday. Mourners have been in the long line for hours, enduring the chillier weather.
Queen's love for animals went beyond corgis
They’re maligned in the United States as rats with wings. But in the United Kingdom, pigeons hold a more respected position as accomplished racers and little-known favorites of Queen Elizabeth II.
Long before the queen became Britain's longest reigning monarch, the young princess took a keen interest in animals of all shapes and sizes, including pigeons, horses and, of course, corgis.
She was also an avid sportswoman, often pictured angling in Scotland with Prince Philip or driving herself to the horse stables at Sandringham Estate. Her trademark printed headscarves, tweeds and galoshes used on hunting, shooting and fishing expeditions were as recognizable as her handbags.
King Charles III to host foreign leaders, new U.K. prime minister
Britain's new King Charles III, Camilla, the Queen Consort, and other members of the royal family will host a reception for foreign guests and heads of state at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening.
Ahead of the reception, the king will meet with the primeministers of Tuvalu, Antigua and Barbuda, and Papua New Guinea.
And at lunchtime, the king will host the newly elected prime minister of the U.K., Liz Truss, also at Buckingham Palace.
Lining up overnight to pay their respects
Queen Elizabeth's complicated LGBTQ legacy
In 1952, when Queen Elizabeth II took the throne after the death of her father, same-sex sexual relations were criminalized in Britain. The same laws were also brought to the Commonwealth countries that it colonized.
By the time she died, the landscape for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights looked dramatically different — at least in the United Kingdom — in part because she approved of many pro-LGBTQ measures, such as same-sex marriage.
That support has led some to argue that she was a “quiet” supporter of LGBTQ rights, but to others she was just doing her job.
The public continue to pay their respects
Man charged in incident near queen’s coffin
A man has been charged in connection with an incident Friday at Westminster Hall, where the queen has been lying in state, London police said Saturday.
A 28-year-old man was arrested and charged with moving to cause alarm, harassment or distress, according to a statement from London’s Metropolitan Police. He was scheduled to appear at the Westminster Magistrates’ court Monday.
A Parliamentary spokesperson said a person had “moved out of the queue and toward the Catafalque,” or raised platform.
The person was removed from the hall and the queue resumed with “minimal disruption,” the spokesperson said.
The platform where the queen's coffin is displayed was being guarded at all times by the Sovereign’s Bodyguard, Foot Guards or the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.