King Charles to host world leaders as UK readies for Queen’s funeral
King Charles to host world leaders as UK readies for Queen’s funeral

London: Britain was gearing up Sunday for the momentous state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II as King Charles III prepared to host world leaders and as mourners queued for the final 24 hours left to view her coffin.

The first members of the public were already camping out in advance to catch a glimpse of Monday´s grand farewell at Westminster Abbey, which is expected to bring London to a standstill and be watched by billions of viewers worldwide.

US President Joe Biden flew in late Saturday, one of dozens of heads of state arriving as Britain stages its biggest-ever policing operation around the historic funeral for its longest-reigning monarch.

The death of Queen Elizabeth aged 96 on September 8 after seven decades on the throne has sparked an outpouring of emotion that has seen hundreds of thousands of people flock to see her coffin lying in state at the British parliament.

Those wanting to view the flag-draped casket have until 6:30 am (0530 GMT) on Monday to make it into the cavernous Westminster Hall.

Mourners have faced waits of up to 25 hours as queues have snaked for miles along the River Thames. Admission to the line looks set to be closed at some point on Sunday.

IT worker Shaun Mayo, 27, was among those relieved to have made it to Westminster Hall after queuing for 14 hours to pay his respects.

“It was incredibly emotional. She was like the nation´s granny,” he told AFP.

“We´ll all miss her.”

A man who was arrested after leaving the line of people filing past the coffin and approaching the casket on Friday has been charged with a public order offence, police said late Saturday.

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