President Biden and Jill will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II next Monday in London. The rules and protocol are strict. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) sent out a document to overseas embassies late Saturday night which explained that due to limited space, only the principal guest (in this case, Biden) and his guest (Jill) will be allowed to attend the funeral service. Oh, and my the way, guests are expected to travel on commercial flights.
What? Can you imagine the looks on the faces of embassy staff who read that part of the guidance? The guests have been asked to arrive in the U.K. on commercial flights and will not be allowed to use helicopters to get from place to place. The world leaders will not be allowed to use their own state cars, like The Beast for President Biden, to get to Westminster Abbey next Monday for the Queen’s funeral service. They will be bussed “en masse” from a site in west London. “Can you imagine Joe Biden on the bus?” one foreign ambassador based in London complained via WhatsApp message early Sunday.
My, my. They will have to travel like regular people. The reason is because there is no room for the increase in crowds and traffic that is expected. At first I thought maybe these restrictions were part of now-King Charles’ extreme climate crisis agenda, but, no. It’s for practical reasons and security requirements for such large crowds. Now that Charles is the King, he has pledged to step back for his political activism and rule as his mother did, without a clear political agenda. We’ll see how he does with that.
Bad news for the First Son, grifter Hunter Biden. In case he was planning to hitch a ride on Air Force One so he can wrangle some high-level introductions from top officials from around the world, just like the good old days when his father was vice-president. The guidance sent to embassies said that “no other members of the principal guest’s family, staff or entourage may be admitted.” Now, that’s apparently just for the funeral service and not any other event going on but we all know that the funeral is the place to see and be seen.
Westminster Abbey will be so packed for the event that it will be impossible for more than a single, senior representative per country and their other half to attend, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) lamented in the official protocol message regarding the event.
In the document, sent to overseas embassies late Saturday night, the department said it “regrets that, because of limited space at the state funeral service and associated events, no other members of the principal guest’s family, staff or entourage may be admitted.”
Heads of state unable to attend may choose someone else as their official representative, such as a head of government or senior minister.
The guests will arrive for the funeral via buses, or “coaches”. And, security will be tight. After the service, they will walk to a reception.
On the day of the funeral, the heads of state and their partners will arrive at Westminster Abbey in escorted coaches from a location in west London, where “because of tight security and road restrictions” they will be required to leave their own cars.
“Multiple and comprehensive layers of security will be in place across London and at all the official venues used for the state funeral and associated events,” a second FCDO document detailing the logistical arrangements for those traveling from overseas states.
In line with the rules of the government’s mourning period, and “because of the extensive ceremonial programme related to the state funeral and the logistical challenges, requests for bilaterals will not be considered on this occasion,” the FCDO warned in the note.
After the funeral service, foreign leaders will be escorted on foot to Dean’s Yard, still within the grounds of the abbey, to attend a reception hosted by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, after which they will return by coach to west London to collect their cars.
I don’t know. I think the Queen would be pleased that a more humble approach to her guests’ participation is being taken.
London Heathrow airport has had a lot of publicity this year for travel interruptions and flight cancellations. Funeral guests are being warned that “unforeseen events may require commercial and private flights to divert from the intended airport of arrival.” That warning came as the guidance from FCDO advised foreign leaders to fly on commercial flights. London Heathrow airport won’t be able to handle private flight arrangements or aircraft parking. If private jets are used, the owner should use “less busy airports” around the London area.
No, Joe and Jill and whomever else they bring along for the ride, will not be flying on a commercial flight to London. They will take Air Force One as usual, and, frankly, they should. The leader of the free world is no ordinary world leader. There is always a security threat when he travels. It’s hard to even imagine an American president boarding a commercial flight and sitting in a first row first-class seat. C’mon, man. I’m sure the White House will find somewhere nearby to land and park Air Force One while the Bidens are in town.