King Charles hosts ‘reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace


Guests attend ‘the reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace as they pay their respects ahead of the Queen’s funeral tomorrow in one of the largest gatherings of world leaders seen in recent years. 

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla greeted US President Joe Biden, who arrived in a private car, and President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, for was a glittering but somber event not seen since the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s father George VI in 1952, more than 70 years ago. 

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins was seen being dropped off from a coach along with the former King and Queen Consort of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofia and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, before the British royal couple met hundreds of dignitaries, including New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau. 

Senior members of the British royal family, ambassadors from almost all nations, and foreign royals including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and the Kings and Queens from Holland, Norway and Belgium were also arriving this evening. 

Many dignitaries had already been viewing the Queen’s coffin in the ancient heart of Parliament after being given a VIP timeslot as ordinary mourners who have queued through the night pay their respects with leaders of the free world. 

The Prime Minister Liz Truss and Government ministers including Jacob Rees-Mogg and James Cleverly were also spotted heading towards tonight’s glittering state reception which took place in the picture gallery and state apartments and featured drinks and canapes. 

Many have also compared the state funeral of the Queen, which will see 1,000s world leaders attend, to Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in 2013 in South Africa which had to take place in a stadium due to the huge amount of world mourners. 

US President Joe Biden (right) accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden (middle) are welcomed by Master of the Household Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt (left) as they arrive at Buckingham Palace for a State Reception in honour of the late Queen  

President Emmanuel Macron (right) and his wife Brigitte (left) arrive for the glittering state reception which will take place in the picture gallery and state apartments and include drinks and canapes

President Emmanuel Macron (right) and his wife Brigitte (left) arrive for the glittering state reception which will take place in the picture gallery and state apartments and include drinks and canapes

Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jorda

Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan

Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan (left) is pictured coming out of a car on the steps of Buckingham Palace dressed in a black as the Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan (right) also makes his way up the steps 

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, and her husband Heiko also arrive

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, and her husband Heiko also arrive 

Queen Letizia of Spain joins her husband King Felipe VI as they arrive separately to former King and Queen Consort of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofia

Queen Letizia of Spain joins her husband King Felipe VI as they arrive separately to former King and Queen Consort of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofia

One of the first guests to be seen arriving at Buckingham Palace is the Irish President Michael D Higgins (bottom left)

Former King Juan Carlos is supported as he arrives at the palace

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins (on left) was dropped off from a coach with the former King and Queen Consort of Spain, Juan Carlos (right, being supported) and Sofia 

Emperor Naruhito of Japan (on right) was spotted arriving at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening ahead of the 'reception of the century' hosted by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla

Emperor Naruhito of Japan (on right) was spotted arriving at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening ahead of the ‘reception of the century’ hosted by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla

Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, who was Elizabeth II's fourth cousin, and Queen Silvia head into the palace

Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, who was Elizabeth II’s fourth cousin, and Queen Silvia head into the palace 

Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (back) arrives at the reception which will see 1,000s world leaders attend

Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (back) arrives at the reception which will see 1,000s world leaders attend

King Abdullah II of Jordan and Queen Rania arriving at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening as royals from around the world attend the 'reception of the century' hosted by King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla

King Abdullah II of Jordan and Queen Rania arriving at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening as royals from around the world attend the ‘reception of the century’ hosted by King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla

King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tarik, who only recently succeeded his cousin Qaboos bin Said to the throne in 2020 arrives on Sunday

King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (left) and Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tarik (right), who only recently succeeded his cousin Qaboos bin Said to the throne in 2020 arrive on Sunday

World leaders and heads of state arrive for a reception hosted by King Charles III for Heads of State and Official Overseas Guests, at Buckingham Palace in London

World leaders and heads of state arrive for a reception hosted by King Charles III for Heads of State and Official Overseas Guests, at Buckingham Palace in London

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (left), vice president, prime minister, and minister of defence of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), arrives for a reception hosted by King Charles III

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (left), vice president, prime minister, and minister of defence of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), arrives for a reception hosted by King Charles III

Kuwait Crown Prince Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has entered Buckingham Palace

Kuwait Crown Prince Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has entered Buckingham Palace 

British Prime Minister Liz Truss and her husband Hugh O'Leary arrive this evening at Buckingham Palace

British Prime Minister Liz Truss and her husband Hugh O’Leary arrive this evening at Buckingham Palace 

Government ministers spotted making their wat to Buckingham Palace

 By Andrew Young for MailOnline 

Government ministers were spotted heading towards tonight’s glittering state reception at Buckingham Palace for foreign heads of state and dignitaries heading.

With most roads around the Palace being closed by police for security reasons, ministers walked to the venue or were dropped off by cars at a security cordon.

Government chiefs had to flash passes and identification to security staff manning security barriers so they could be allowed to slip through to the party.

Among the first to be seen was Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg who went virtually unnoticed as he briskly marched through crowds in one of his customary smart dark suits.

He was seen politely nodding to security staff in hi-viz jackets who had a printed out page showing the pictures and names of people they were allowed to let through.

Witnesses also spotted deputy prime minister and new health minister Therese Coffey making her way through the barrier.

One onlooker referenced the famous picture of Ms Coffey smoking a fat cigar with a drink stain down her dress at a party, saying: ‘I hope she is on her best behaviour.

‘I am sure smoking will not be allowed inside the Palace, so she will not have a chance to puff away.’

Other ministers spotted arriving at the cordon included Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan who flashed her passport picture at officials to prove her identity.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan was also photographed as she got out of an official black car.

Both women were wearing black outfits, offset by silver pendant necklaces, as they stepped out in Buckingham Gate, a short distance from the Palace.

As ministers were filing through the security barriers, ordinary members of the public were heading the other way after being ushered away from the area outside the Palace.

Some complained that they had not been able to get anywhere near the Palace and had spent hours slowly filing through a route, through St James’ Park

 

King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan also arrived in their own vehicle at the Grand Entrance and were followed by their son, Hussein, Crown Prince of Jordan, who also took his own vehicle.

Moments later, the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, arrived.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, also joined the guests, and the Crown Prince of Kuwait, Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, soon followed.

The Sultan of Oman was also seen arriving at the palace, while Ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum followed shortly afterwards.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark were among those arriving on coaches.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and president of the European Council Charles Michel arrived on coaches with several leaders of Commonwealth nations at the Grand Entrance.

They were joined by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who walked into the palace followed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who smiled briefly at journalists.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was also among guests at the event which took place across the picture gallery, the white drawing room, the blue drawing room and the music room.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and other working members of the royal family including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester joined Charles and the Queen Consort in mingling with guests. 

Guests were asked to wear lounge suits and morning dress rather than ball gowns and white tie as would be expected at a usual state event at the King’s London home. But some were allowed to opt for traditional clothing. 

And reports suggest that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were ‘uninvited’ to a state reception for world leaders and foreign royals this evening. 

It is thought Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle received an invitation to the event, hosted by King Charles and the Queen Consort, earlier in the week.

But the couple are now unlikely to attend after officials at Buckingham Palace insisted the reception was for working royals only, it is understood.

The confusion over Harry and Meghan’s invitation points to issues with communication between the Californian-based couple and the Royal Family, according to the Daily Telegraph. It follows an apparent U-turn over Harry’s right to wear military uniform despite being a non-working royal.

The Palace is understood to have intervened to allow Harry to wear his regalia to a 15-minute vigil at Westminster Hall yesterday. Harry had previously said he would wear a morning suit to all the funeral events.

The funeral of the only monarch most Britons have known involves the biggest security operation London has ever seen.

Mayor Sadiq Khan says tomorrow’s state funeral is an ‘unprecedented’ security challenge, with hundreds of thousands of people packing central London and a funeral guest list of 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world.

‘It’s been decades since this many world leaders were in one place,’ Mr Khan said. ‘This is unprecedented … in relation to the various things that we’re juggling.’

‘There could be bad people wanting to cause damage to individuals or to some of our world leaders,’ he told The Associated Press. ‘So we are working incredibly hard – the police, the security services and many, many others – to make sure this state funeral is as successful as it can be.’

US President Joe Biden (on right with his wife as he is greeted by the Master of the Household Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt at Buckingham Palace) has paid his respects to the late Queen at Westminster Hall today before recalling how the late monarch reminded him of his own mother

US President Joe Biden (on right with his wife as he is greeted by the Master of the Household Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt at Buckingham Palace) has paid his respects to the late Queen at Westminster Hall today before recalling how the late monarch reminded him of his own mother

US President Joe Biden sits in his car "The Beast" as it passes by Buckingham Palace this evening

US President Joe Biden sits in his car “The Beast” as it passes by Buckingham Palace this evening 

President Biden and First Lady Jill (both pictured as they arrive at Buckingham Palace) were seen standing on a VIP balcony looking down at the Queen 's coffin this afternoon which is under constant guard and draped in flags

President Biden and First Lady Jill (both pictured as they arrive at Buckingham Palace) were seen standing on a VIP balcony looking down at the Queen ‘s coffin this afternoon which is under constant guard and draped in flags

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the ‘hugely complex’ policing operation is the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics.

‘Our response here in London will be proportionate, it will be balanced, and officers will only be taking action where it is absolutely necessary,’ he said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said the goal was to keep the event safe, ‘and try to do it in as unobtrusive a way as possible, because this is obviously a solemn occasion.’

More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty Monday, with London officers supplemented by reinforcements from all of Britain’s 43 police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces will also act as stewards along the processional route.

They are just the most visible part of a security operation that is being run from a high-tech control center near Lambeth Bridge, not far from Parliament.

Street drains and garbage bins are being searched and sealed. Tomorrow there will be police spotters on rooftops, sniffer dogs on the streets, marine officers on the River Thames and mounted police on horseback. 

Flying drones over Central London has been temporarily banned, and Heathrow Airport is grounding scores of flights so that aircraft noise does not disturb the funeral service.

Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, left, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London this evening

Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, left, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London this evening

Culture secretary Michelle Donelan arrives at the Buckingham Palace reception

Business minister Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at the Buckingham Palace reception

Culture secretary Michelle Donelan (left) and Jacob Rees-Mogg (right) arrive at the Buckingham Palace reception

The heads of state arrive in Buckingham Palace by bus, to meet King Charles III, in London - the only world leader thought to arrive in another mode of the transport is the US President Joe Biden who was allowed to come in the presidential car - the Beast

The heads of state arrive in Buckingham Palace by bus, to meet King Charles III, in London – the only world leader thought to arrive in another mode of the transport is the US President Joe Biden who was allowed to come in the presidential car – the Beast 

King Charles smiled as he was driven through the gates of Buckingham Palace

King Charles smiled as he was driven through the gates of Buckingham Palace 

Queen Letizia of Spain paying her respects at Westminster Hall

Emperor Naruhito leaves Claridge's Hotel

Queen Letizia of Spain paying her respects at Westminster Hall (left). Right, Emperor Naruhito leaves Claridge’s Hotel

Queen Elizabeth II's grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) the Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Princess Eugenie, the Duke of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil

Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) the Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Princess Eugenie, the Duke of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil

Bahrain's Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa pays his respects to the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth

Bahrain’s Prime Minister Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa pays his respects to the coffin of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium pay their respects to Britain's Queen Elizabeth, following her death, during her lying-in-state at Westminster Hall, earlier today

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium pay their respects to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, following her death, during her lying-in-state at Westminster Hall, earlier today  

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (right) and Queen Jetsun Pema (middle) pay their respects to the Queen during her lying-in-state at Westminster Hall

Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (right) and Queen Jetsun Pema (middle) pay their respects to the Queen during her lying-in-state at Westminster Hall

Denmark's Queen Margrethe pays her respects to Britain's Queen, her third cousin at the lying-in-state at Westminster Hall, in London

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe pays her respects to Britain’s Queen, her third cousin at the lying-in-state at Westminster Hall, in London

King Charles III receives Prime Minister Liz Truss in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace

King Charles III receives Prime Minister Liz Truss in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace

Authorities face the challenge of keeping 500 world leaders safe, without ruffling too many diplomatic feathers. Presidents, prime ministers and royalty will gather offsite before being taken by bus to the abbey – though an exception is being made for Mr Biden, who is expected to arrive in his armored limousine, known as The Beast.

Another challenge is the sheer size of the crowds expected to gather around Westminster Abbey and along the route the coffin will travel after the funeral, past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park. From there it will be taken by hearse about 20 miles to Windsor, where another 2,000 police officers will be on duty.

The Queen is due to be interred in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99.

The President of Armenia copped flak earlier today for disrespecting the Queen as he took photos and chatted to aides during a visit to see her lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.

Vahagn Khachaturyan, an ally of warmongering Russian president Vladimir Putin, was seen bowing at the late monarch’s coffin as one of his lackies snapped some pictures on his mobile phone.

After being taken by gun carriage from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, the State Hearse will carry the Queen's coffin west along the south edge of Hyde Park in central London, before passing through Queens Gate and heading down Cromwell Road. It will then head down Talgarth Road via the Hammersmith Flyover, Great West Road (A4) and Great South West Road (A30). It will continue on the A30 and will then take the A308 to make the final part of the journey to Shaw Farm Gate outside Windsor Castle, where it will be met by the procession that will take it up the Long Walk to St George's Chapel

After being taken by gun carriage from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, the State Hearse will carry the Queen’s coffin west along the south edge of Hyde Park in central London, before passing through Queens Gate and heading down Cromwell Road. It will then head down Talgarth Road via the Hammersmith Flyover, Great West Road (A4) and Great South West Road (A30). It will continue on the A30 and will then take the A308 to make the final part of the journey to Shaw Farm Gate outside Windsor Castle, where it will be met by the procession that will take it up the Long Walk to St George’s Chapel

Bystanders meanwhile claimed the Armenian leader was loudly rabbiting on to his entourage as they trundled along the VIP walkway and down to the floor where Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is lying.

His actions flew in the face of strict rules in the 1,000-year-old chamber which forbid the taking of photos or videos and call for quiet, respectful behaviour.

Khachaturyan was seen in June of this year sharing a warm embrace with Putin at a Russian economic conference even as war raged across the border in Ukraine.

One attendee at Westminster Hall told The Sun: ‘There were hundreds of people in that hall – no one was speaking. Only him. Yap, yap, yap, yap. He clearly planned to have his photo taken.

‘He and his aide hold back as the group in front passes the coffin… He knows the rules and would have been told before he went in.’

Another angry source said: ‘Everyone has managed to follow those rules to the very letter – apart from this one individual.’

It is unclear whether Khachaturyan, who remains a close ally of the Kremlin despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, will join other world leaders at the Queen’s funeral tomorrow.

Members of the public observe the national minute's silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II on the Long Walk, Windsoe

Members of the public observe the national minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II on the Long Walk, Windsoe

Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss (R) stands on the steps of 10 Downing Street joining in a National Moment of reflection to show her respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II at 8pm on Sunday

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss (R) stands on the steps of 10 Downing Street joining in a National Moment of reflection to show her respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II at 8pm on Sunday 

Castle Wardens observe the national minute's silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in Berkshire on Sunday evening

Castle Wardens observe the national minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in Berkshire on Sunday evening 

A police officer observes a National moment of reflection in Waterloo Station on Sunday

A police officer observes a National moment of reflection in Waterloo Station on Sunday 

The VIP time slots given to visiting heads of state and foreign dignitaries comes as hundreds of thousands of people queue spend hour after hour lining up to see Her Majesty.

Since Wednesday many had patiently stood in line as they wait to pay their respects, with the queue snaking its way through central London for more than four miles past numerous landmarks including the Tate Modern, the London Eye and Tower Bridge.

Later today officials will stop more people from joining the queue as they look to clear the line before the Queen’s coffin is moved in tomorrow’s funeral procession to Westminster Abbey, where her funeral is being held tomorrow morning.

Westminster Hall will close at 8.30am, with the doors of Westminster Abbey opening at 8am. The funeral service will begin at 11am.

The service, which will be shown live on the BBC and ITV, as well as 150 cinemas in the UK, is expected to be seen by as many as 4.1billion people worldwide.

After the service at Westminster Abbey the Queen’s coffin will be moved to Windsor where there will be a committal service tomorrow evening.

Joe Biden mourns the Queen: US President and First Lady Jill pay their respects to Her Majesty at Westminster Hall before signing book of condolence and saying monarch ‘reminded him of his own mother’

By MATTHEW LODGE and DAVID AVERRE FOR MAILONLINE

US President Joe Biden has paid his respects to the late Queen at Westminster Hall today before recalling how the late monarch reminded him of his own mother.

President Biden and First Lady Jill were seen standing on a VIP balcony looking down at the Queen’s coffin this afternoon which is under constant guard and draped in flags.

The American president touched his hand to his heart and appeared to snap off a quick salute to the late monarch in a gesture of respect, before continuing on through the hall.

He later travelled to Lancaster House where he signed the book of condolence, and told reporters that he would remember how the Queen treated everyone with ‘dignity’ and her 70 years of service. 

Biden’s visit came moments after French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte were spotted making their way to the Palace of Westminster.

Mr Macron, who is seldom seen out of his trademark blue suit, was seen in a more understated dark navy jacket, charcoal grey trousers and black trainers alongside his wife, who dressed in a similar fashion.

The pair donned sunglasses as they strolled through central London, flanked by aides and security guards. 

After paying their respects to the late monarch, Biden and Macron will join King Charles and scores of other world leaders and royals for a reception at Buckingham Palace, where they will present the new king with a book of pictures celebrating the Queen’s visits to France.

Elizabeth’s body has been lying in state at the historic Westminster Hall since Wednesday, and people from all walks of life and from around the world have been filing past in a constant, emotional stream, many queuing overnight.

The American president touched his hand to his heart and appeared to snap off a quick salute to the late monarch in a gesture of respect, before continuing on through the hall

President Biden and First Lady Jill (right), along with US Ambassador Jane Hartley (left) were seen standing on a VIP balcony looking down at the Queen's coffin, which is under constant guard and draped in flags

President Biden and First Lady Jill (right), along with US Ambassador Jane Hartley (left) were seen standing on a VIP balcony looking down at the Queen’s coffin, which is under constant guard and draped in flags

The President later travelled to Lancaster House, where he signed the book of condolence for Her Majesty, and told reporters fondly of how she reminded him of his mother

The President later travelled to Lancaster House, where he signed the book of condolence for Her Majesty, and told reporters fondly of how she reminded him of his mother

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, London

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, London

Biden is seen top left looking down on the Queen's coffin, as members of the public pay their respects to Her Majesty from the floor of Westminster Hall

Biden is seen top left looking down on the Queen’s coffin, as members of the public pay their respects to Her Majesty from the floor of Westminster Hall

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives in London in presidential motorcade following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain, September 18, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives in London in presidential motorcade following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain, September 18, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron (C-L) and his wife Brigitte Macron (C-R) arrive at Westminster Hall to pay their respects to Britain's late Queen Elizabeth II in London, Britain, 18 September 2022. The queen's funeral will be held on 19 September, following four days of lying in state inside Westminster Hall

French President Emmanuel Macron (C-L) and his wife Brigitte Macron (C-R) arrive at Westminster Hall to pay their respects to Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II in London, Britain, 18 September 2022. The queen’s funeral will be held on 19 September, following four days of lying in state inside Westminster Hall

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and his wife Brigitte Macron (R) arrive at Westminster Hall to pay their respects to Britain's late Queen Elizabeth II

Mr Macron, who is seldom seen out of his trademark blue suit, was seen in a more understated dark navy jacket, grey trousers and trainers alongside his wife, who dressed in a similar fashion

Mr Macron, who is seldom seen out of his trademark blue suit, was seen in a more understated dark navy jacket, charcoal grey trousers and trainers alongside his wife, who dressed in a similar fashion

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan (pictured centre) was seen as part of his country's delegation at Westminster Hall this evening. President Xi Jinping was invited to attend but has not done so

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan (pictured centre) was seen as part of his country’s delegation at Westminster Hall this evening. President Xi Jinping was invited to attend but has not done so

Royal guards stand by Queen Elizabeth II's flag-draped coffin lying in state on the catafalque at Westminster Hall on September 18, 2022 in London, England

Royal guards stand by Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin lying in state on the catafalque at Westminster Hall on September 18, 2022 in London, England

The Queen's coffin lies on a dias on the floor of Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster. It will remain in place until tomorrow morning, when it will be moved for her funeral at Westminster Abbey

The Queen’s coffin lies on a dias on the floor of Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster. It will remain in place until tomorrow morning, when it will be moved for her funeral at Westminster Abbey

The Macrons were seen donning sunglasses as they strolled through central London today, flanked by aides and security guards

The Macrons were seen donning sunglasses as they strolled through central London today, flanked by aides and security guards

Mr Biden had pulled up to Westminster in his famed armoured limousine, a £1.3 million stretch Cadillac nicknamed ‘The Beast’, where he was met by large crowds of people who cheered his arrival and greeted by Black Rod Sarah Clarke.

The couple were joined by the US ambassador to the UK, Jane Hartley, who bowed her head as she paid her respects to Her Majesty.

Later at Lancaster House he spoke warmly of the late monarch, saying: ‘To all the people of England, to al the people of the United Kingdom, our hearts go out to you’re fortunate to have had her [The Queen] for 70 years, we all were. The world was better for her, we all were.’

He added the Queen had reminded him of his own mother with ‘the way she touched when she leaned over, the way she had that look “Are you ok? Anything I can do for you? What do you need?”.

Wagging his finger he joked: ‘And also, “make sure you do what you’re supposed to do”.’

Mr Biden spoke warmly of the Queen and said she treated people with 'dignity', and that the world was lucky to have her 70-year reign. Here he is pictured with Her Majesty at Windsor Castle in June last year

Mr Biden spoke warmly of the Queen and said she treated people with ‘dignity’, and that the world was lucky to have her 70-year reign. Here he is pictured with Her Majesty at Windsor Castle in June last year

The president was joined by his wife and the US Ambassador on the VIP balcony (pictured left) at Westminster Hall as he paid tribute to the late monarch

The president was joined by his wife and the US Ambassador on the VIP balcony (pictured left) at Westminster Hall as he paid tribute to the late monarch

After attending Westminster Hall President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden (pictured) signed the book of condolence at Lancaster House

After attending Westminster Hall President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden (pictured) signed the book of condolence at Lancaster House

Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, was pictured paying her respects to the Queen at Westminster Hall earlier today

Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, was pictured paying her respects to the Queen at Westminster Hall earlier today

The president said the Queen treated people with ‘dignity’, adding: ‘I talk about my mother and father, [they] thought that everyone, no matter who they were, no matter what their station, no matter where they’re from, deserved to be treated with dignity. 

‘And that’s exactly what she [Her Majesty] communicated, just the way she walked by her staff, just the way she acted. And I think what she gave is a sense of, maybe above all, the notion of service. 

‘We all owe something, there’s something in our capacity to do, that can make things, not just the world, but your neighbourhood better, your household better, your workplace better. 

‘And that’s what she communicated to me anyway and it was an honour to meet her.’

He made the remarks ahead of a reception at Buckingham Palace being hosted by King Charles II and Queen Consort Camilla this evening, with up to 1,000  VIPs expected to attend.

Those expected to be there include US President Joe Biden, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau, alongside European royalty and senior members of the British royal family,

Most are expected to view the Queen’s coffin, which will lie in state until tomorrow morning, in the ancient heart of Parliament today after being given a VIP timeslot.

Among those pictured at Westminster Hall today include President Emmanuel Macron of France and First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.

But the list of dignitaries also includes a string of controversial strongmen, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who was filmed today giving a thunderous speech from the windows of the Brazilian Embassy in London to a cheering crowd waving the national flag.

And today the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia confirmed that Mohammed Bin Salman, known by the abbreviation MBS, had been invited to attend the funeral. 

He is set to hold talks with British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Sunday evening, but his presence at the Queen’s funeral tomorrow sparked outrage after Saudi agents brutally murdered and dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018.

China has also announced it will send its vice-president, Wang Qishan, to the funeral. He was pictured attending Westminster Hall this evening as part of the Chinese delegation, amid criticism from some MPs that an invitation was extended to the authoritarian nation.

Due to strained ties, the UK opted to invite ambassadors, not heads of state, from Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea. Meanwhile, Russia and Belarus are among a small group of nations excluded altogether following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and his wife Michelle Bolsonaro were among the world leaders to pay their respects inside Westminster Hall

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and his wife Michelle Bolsonaro were among the world leaders to pay their respects inside Westminster Hall

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived in the UK yesterday and were pictured above getting off a plane at London Stansted Airport yesterday

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived in the UK yesterday and were pictured above getting off a plane at London Stansted Airport yesterday

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's presence at the Queen's funeral tomorrow has sparked outrage amid his nation's poor human rights record

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s presence at the Queen’s funeral tomorrow has sparked outrage amid his nation’s poor human rights record

The President of Armenia copped flak earlier today for disrespecting the Queen as he took photos and chatted to aides during a visit to see her lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.

Vahagn Khachaturyan, an ally of warmongering Russian president Vladimir Putin, was seen bowing at the late monarch’s coffin as one of his lackies snapped some pictures on his mobile phone.

Bystanders meanwhile claimed the Armenian leader was loudly rabbiting on to his entourage as they trundled along the VIP walkway and down to the floor where Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is lying. 

His actions flew in the face of strict rules in the 1,000-year-old chamber which forbid the taking of photos or videos and call for quiet, respectful behaviour. 

Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan is snapped by a member of his entourage as he stands at the foot of the Queen's coffin

Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan is snapped by a member of his entourage as he stands at the foot of the Queen’s coffin

Members of the public pay their respects as they pass the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 18, 2022

Members of the public pay their respects as they pass the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 18, 2022

President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan (left) is seen embracing President of Russia Vladimir Putin in June. His behaviour in Westminster Hall today was criticised by some bystanders

President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan (left) is seen embracing President of Russia Vladimir Putin in June. His behaviour in Westminster Hall today was criticised by some bystanders 

Khachaturyan was seen in June of this year sharing a warm embrace with Putin at a Russian economic conference even as war raged across the border in Ukraine.

One attendee at Westminster Hall told The Sun: ‘There were hundreds of people in that hall – no one was speaking. Only him. Yap, yap, yap, yap. He clearly planned to have his photo taken.

‘He and his aide hold back as the group in front passes the coffin… He knows the rules and would have been told before he went in.’

Another angry source said: ‘Everyone has managed to follow those rules to the very letter – apart from this one individual.’

It is unclear whether Khachaturyan, who remains a close ally of the Kremlin despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, will join other world leaders at the Queen’s funeral tomorrow.

The VIP time slots given to visiting heads of state and foreign dignitaries comes as hundreds of thousands of people queue spend hour after hour lining up to see Her Majesty. 

Since Wednesday many had patiently stood in line as they wait to pay their respects, with the queue snaking its way through central London for more than four miles past numerous landmarks including the Tate Modern, the London Eye and Tower Bridge. 

Later today officials will stop more people from joining the queue as they look to clear the line before the Queen’s coffin is moved in tomorrow’s funeral procession to Westminster Abbey, where her funeral is being held tomorrow morning.

MBS will NOT go to Queen’s funeral: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is now not expected to go to service with other world leaders amid backlash at UK visit

By HANNAH MCDONALD FOR MAILONLINE 

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is now not expected to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday, amid backlash at his visit to the UK. 

Prince Turki bin Mohammed al Saud will represent Saudi Arabia instead, a British foreign office source said on Sunday. 

The source said the change had been made by Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported.

This comes after Human Rights groups criticised the decision to invite the Crown Prince – who has been accused by Western intelligence of ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – to the funeral.

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of Mr Khashoggi, had also condemned the controversial invitation.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is not expected to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday, contrary to Britain’s earlier expectations that he would 

She said his presence at Her Majesty’s state funeral would ‘stain her memory’ – a sentiment echoed by activists who say allowing Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, known as MBS, to attend is trying to ‘whitewash’ his human rights record.

The Prince ‘approved’ the murder and dismemberment of Mr Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018, a declassified CIA report alleged. He vehemently denies the claims and said recently that that the journalist would not be among his top 1,000 targets to kill, ‘if that was how we did things’.

MBS is one of the more than 500 foreign dignitaries and heads of state invited to mourn Queen Elizabeth II during the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday. A cast of controversial statesmen were invited to the affair including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia confirmed on Saturday that MBS was travelling to London but did not disclose the details of his visit. 

This comes after Human Rights groups criticised the decision to invite the Crown Prince - who has been accused by Western intelligence of ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi - to the funeral

This comes after Human Rights groups criticised the decision to invite the Crown Prince – who has been accused by Western intelligence of ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – to the funeral 

Approximately 2,000 people are expected to attend the Queen’s service on Monday, including world leaders, VIPS and members of other royal families. The televised funeral is expected to be watched by 4.1 billion people and analysts predict 2 million others will flock to the capital for the event.

Ms Cengiz criticised the Saudi’s ruler’s invitation to the funeral, arguing he was using a time of mourning to ‘seek legitimacy and normalisation.’

‘The Queen’s passing is a truly sad occasion,’ she told The Guardian. ‘The crown prince should not be allowed to be part of this mourning and not be allowed to stain her memory and use this time mourning to seek legitimacy and normalisation.’

Her claims were echoed by advocacy groups across the UK who allege Her Majesty’s death is not the time for ‘authoritarian dictators’ to try and ‘rehabilitate’ their image.

‘The UK simply should not be welcoming dictators from states renowned for their atrocious human rights records,’ Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said.

‘Although the leaders of Russia and Syria have rightly not received invitations to attend the Queen’s funeral, it sends a clear double standard to then welcome notorious Gulf despots such as King Hamad and Mohammed bin Salman, who continue to preside over appalling violations against those who dare to speak out in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.’

Hatice Cengiz (right) criticised the Saudi's ruler's invitation to the funeral, arguing he was using a time of mourning to 'seek legitimacy and normalisation.' She is pictured with her fiance Jamal Khashoggi (left)

Hatice Cengiz (right) criticised the Saudi’s ruler’s invitation to the funeral, arguing he was using a time of mourning to ‘seek legitimacy and normalisation.’ She is pictured with her fiance Jamal Khashoggi (left)

Prince Turki bin Mohammed al Saud will represent Saudi Arabia instead, a British foreign office source said on Sunday

Prince Turki bin Mohammed al Saud will represent Saudi Arabia instead, a British foreign office source said on Sunday

Activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the UK-based director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, reiterated his colleagues claims, saying: ‘Authoritarian dictators should not use the Queen’s death as an opportunity to try to rehabilitate their image while they escalate repressive campaigns in their countries.’

Similarly, UK-based Campaign Against the Arms Trade slammed Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies for ‘using the Queen’s funeral as a way to – in their words – “whitewash” their human rights records,’ BBC reported.

In a report earlier this week, CNN Arabic claimed MBS would not be attending the funeral, citing his ‘fragile ego’ as likely having played a role in his decision.

Abdullah Alaoudh, a Washington-based Saudi dissident, told the TV network that MBS would be ‘seated behind other powerful figures’ at the event, which he would allegedly bother him.

‘MBS wants full acknowledgement of his power, his existence, of getting in the front row,’ Mr Alaoudh argued. ‘He cares a lot about these symbols and does not want to be humiliated.’

Additionally, world dignitaries have been asked to jump on shuttle buses to Westminster Abbey, as is standard protocol, instead of using state limousines or carriages. 

The only exception appears to be US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill will be able to take the armoured Beast to the Queen’s funeral.

Some embassies have reportedly made as-yet unsuccessful efforts to request exceptions to the Foreign Office guidance. 

MBS is one of the more than 500 foreign dignitaries and heads of state invited to mourn Queen Elizabeth II (pictured in 2013) during the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday

Approximately 2,000 people are expected to attend the Queen's service on Monday, including world leaders, VIPS and members of other royal families. Members of the public are pictured filing past the Queen's coffin as it lies in state at Westminster Abbey on Sunday

Approximately 2,000 people are expected to attend the Queen’s service on Monday, including world leaders, VIPS and members of other royal families. Members of the public are pictured filing past the Queen’s coffin as it lies in state at Westminster Abbey on Sunday

The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Myanmar reportedly did not get an invite to the Queen’s funeral but a number of controversial figures including Erdogan and Bolsonaro are coming to London for the service.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was invited but is not expected to attend. He instead sent Vice President Wang Qishan to attend on his behalf, China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed to The Wall Street Journal on Saturday.

Several British lawmakers, alleging they were ‘greatly concerned’ by the invitation to President Xi, penned a letter to the House of Commons calling for the invitation to be rescinded. They also strongly criticised China for its treatment of the largely Muslim Uyghur community.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also declined his invitation to attend the service. India will instead by represented by President Droupadi Murmu, according to The Guardian.

PM Modi had delivered a speech on the day of the Queen’s death – hours before her illness was known – urging India to shed its colonial ties during a ceremony to renamed a street that had honoured George V.

The leader did however call UK Prime Minister Liz Truss two days after Her Majesty’s death to issue his condolences. 

The Queen's grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Britain's Princess Eugenie of York, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Princess Beatrice of York, Britain's Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on Saturday

The Queen’s grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Britain’s Princess Eugenie of York, Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain’s Princess Beatrice of York, Britain’s Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on Saturday

The televised funeral is expected to be watched by 4.1 billion people and analysts predict 2 million others will flock to the capital for the event. He Majesty's coffin, draped in the Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown, is pictured Lying in State inside Westminster Hall on Sunday

The televised funeral is expected to be watched by 4.1 billion people and analysts predict 2 million others will flock to the capital for the event. He Majesty’s coffin, draped in the Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown, is pictured Lying in State inside Westminster Hall on Sunday

Members of the public, wrapped in blankets, walk in line along The Queens Walk near Tower Bridge waiting to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lays in state within Westminster Hall on Sunday

Members of the public, wrapped in blankets, walk in line along The Queens Walk near Tower Bridge waiting to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lays in state within Westminster Hall on Sunday

Her Majesty’s close friend Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the billionaire ruler of Dubai, is yet to confirm if he will attend.

Before her death, Her Majesty was under pressure to ditch him after the High Court found he was responsible for illegal UK hacking of his wife’s phone.

A senior judge concluded that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the horse race-loving friend of the Royal Family and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, committed a ‘total abuse of trust and indeed an abuse of power’.

The court found that he previously orchestrated the kidnap of his runaway daughter Princess Shamsa from Cambridgeshire in 2000. He also allegedly abducted her sister Princess Latifa when she too tried to flee. 

Princess Latif’s best friend Tiina Jauhiainen told MailOnline last week that the ruler of Dubai must be snubbed by Buckingham Palace and the British Government along with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.

She said: ‘I don’t think a person with his reputation should be invited to the Queen’s funeral.

‘I hope we are not going to be seeing MBS [what the Crown Prince is colloquially known as] either.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk