American President Joe Biden has touched down in London alongside his wife Jill as foreign dignitaries descend on the capital ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday.
The President and First Lady arrived at Stansted Airport on the presidential plane Air Force One having boarded in Washington on Saturday afternoon.
The couple appeared to be in good spirits as they landed just before 10pm, walking down the aircraft steps together before being greeted by a small party – including Jane Hartley, US ambassador to the UK, and Jennifer Tolhurst, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex.
After landing at Stansted Airport, the President and his wife were seen leaving the airport in the presidential armoured vehicle dubbed ‘The Beast’.
Tomorrow the US President is expected to pay his respects to the Queen and sign her official condolence book, before attending a reception hosted by King Charles III.
The President and First Lady were spotted leaving the US just hours after Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako were also seen taking a first class flight into London.
The emperor and empress will swap their luxury digs for a shuttle bus alongside other world dignitaries to get to the Queen’s funeral on Monday. Meanwhile, the Bidens are understood to have been granted an exemption to travel in ‘The Beast’ while in the capital.
Mr Biden was due to hold talks with the UK’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, but it has since been confirmed the pair will not meet in an official capacity prior to Her Majesty’s funeral.
Downing Street said a ‘full bilateral meeting’ will take place at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday instead. The Prime Minister is now expected to hold a call with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, on Saturday evening.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese and prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, are among some of the world leaders who have already arrived in London and visited Lancaster House on Saturday to sign a book of condolences for the royal family.
Mr Albanese said in a statement to Twitter afterwards: ‘Today Jodie and I signed the condolence book at Lancaster House. In this time of great grief, we are thankful to be here paying our respects to the Queen for her services to duty, faith, family and the Commonwealth.’
The life of the late Queen will be celebrated in the ‘reception of the century’ this weekend before she’s officially laid to rest on Monday surrounded by the who’s who of the global elite.
American President Joe Biden has touched down in London alongside his wife Jill ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday
The President and his wife Jill arrived into Stansted late on Saturday night. They are due to visit the Queen’s coffin tomorrow
The Bidens seemed in good spirits as they walked down to the tarmac having arrived in the UK tonight before leaving in ‘The Beast’
The Air Force One plane was seen landing at Stansted Airport tonight with the President on board as he travels to London for the Queen’s funeral
The President and First Lady were greeted by a small party as they stepped off the plane at Stansted Airport including Jane Hartley, US ambassador to the UK, and Jennifer Tolhurst, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex.
After landing at Stansted, the President and his wife were seen leaving the airport in ‘The Beast’ – the armoured presidential vehicle
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were seen leaving London Stansted airport with their motorcade
The couple travelled to London onboard the presidential plane Air Force One. Mr Biden was the 13th US president to meet the Queen
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden boarded the Marine One from the White House on Saturday before arriving in London to farewell the Queen
Joe and Jill Biden wore matching navy jackets with their names embossed on the breast as they boarded the aircraft on Saturday to commemorate the U.S. Air Force’s 75th Anniversary. Mr Biden was due to hold talks with the UK’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, but it has since been confirmed the pair will not meet in an official capacity prior to Her Majesty’s funeral
The duo arrived in London this evening ahead of a state reception on Sunday and the funeral on Monday
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophe Trudeau (left), along with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) sign a book of condolence at Lancaster House in London
King Charles III shakes hands with Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, on Saturday afternoon
The new King is meeting with realm prime ministers who are waiting to pay their respects, offer their condolences and wish him well ahead of formal proceedings on Sunday and Monday
Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have boarded a luxury first class flight en route to London this morning
Governor-General of Belize Dame Froyla Tzalam also attended Lancaster House to pay her respects
King Charles III also met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Saturday afternoon (pictured)
The men sat for a discussion at Buckingham Palace ahead of an official 500-person reception tomorrow and Her Majesty’s funeral on Monday
The emperor’s journey to Britain alongside the empress – the first since acceding the throne in 2019 – is considered a sign of respect and highlights the bonds formed between the two royal families during Her Majesty’s reign
Traditionally, a Japanese emperor would not attend the funeral of any person other than their own parents due to a deep-rooted cultural belief in which death is considered impure
Traditionally, a Japanese emperor would not attend the funeral of any person other than their own parents due to a deep-rooted cultural belief in which death is considered impure.
His journey to Britain alongside the empress – the first since acceding the throne in 2019 – is considered a sign of respect and highlights the bonds formed between the two royal families during Her Majesty’s reign.
Leaked Government documents revealed plans for world leaders to travel en masse in a bus to Westminster Abbey for Monday’s service, rather than using private cars.
British and US officials have since played down the prospect of President Biden having to travel on a bus into central London. Emperor Naruhito is expected to be among those travelling to the funeral on the shuttle.
According to Politico, the 62-year-old and other visiting royals will be bussed to the service under strict Foreign Office guidance.
The website reported Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia and the Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima would also be put on a shuttle bus.
Some embassies have reportedly made as-yet unsuccessful efforts to request exceptions to the Foreign Office guidance. It’s not clear if the Japanese embassy is among them.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne has also arrived in London and paid his respects by signing the book of condolence
The Australian PM and his partner both signed the book hours after they visited Green Park to lay a wreath in honour of the Queen
David Hurley Governor-General of Australia with his wife Linda Hurley at Lancaster House to sign the book of condolence
Sir Bob Dadae, Governor-General of Papua New Guinea will attend the Queen’s funeral on behalf of his nation
Despite the lavish journey to the UK, it’s understood the couple are expected to be shuttled to the funeral service on a bus with other dignitaries
Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko waves to a special flight carrying Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako
Some embassies have reportedly filed urgent requests to amend the transport plans for their representatives due to safety concerns
A Number 10 spokeswoman refused to comment on the arrangements for individual dignitaries but accepted they will ‘differ depending on the needs of the different leaders’.
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern was one of the first world leaders to pay her respects in London on Friday, while the prime minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina touched down on Thursday afternoon.
Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese has also arrived and brought along with him 10 ‘everyday’ guests who made ‘extraordinary contributions to their communities, and who represent Australian culture and values’.
He went straight to London’s Green Park early on Sunday to lay a wreath among the thousands of bouquets which have been building throughout the city since her death was announced on the evening of September 8.
‘Paying our respects to Her Majesty,’ Mr Albanese said as he shared a photo at Green Park alongside his partner Jodie Haydon. ‘May she rest in eternal peace.’
Inside the Japanese government’s new plush Boeing: An onboard conference room for government officials and aides to Imperial Family members
The plane features chairs with workspaces that senior government officials and aides to Imperial Family members can use during flights
Members of the public file past 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
Later on Saturday, he met with Prime Minister Truss, who has also held talks with New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and UAE president and ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Biden congratulated Liz Truss on becoming Prime Minister on September 6.
He said he looked forward to deepening the ‘special relationship’ between the US and the UK, as Truss became leader of the Conservative Party.
‘Congratulations to Prime Minister Liz Truss. I look forward to deepening the special relationship between our countries and working in close cooperation on global challenges, including continued support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression,’ Biden wrote on Twitter.
Truss is said to be less keen on the ‘special relationship’ with the US than some of her predecessors. In the past she has called it ‘special, but not exclusive.’
Biden and Truss have met before. She, in her role of foreign secretary, accompanied then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his visit to the White House last September.
She and Biden also talked when he attended the COP26 conference in Scotland last October.
Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese also revealed on Sunday that he’d arrived and went straight to London’s Green Park early on Sunday to lay a wreath among the thousands of bouquets (pictured with his partner, Jodie Haydon)
President Biden and First Lady Jill will be able to take the armored Beast to the Queen’s funeral next week while other world leaders will be asked to take the shared bus, as is standard protocol
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh arriving at London Stansted airport on Thursday
Jacinda Ardern ‘shares the sorrow’ of King Charles as she prepares to meet Royal Family and new PM Liz Truss
Ms Ardern confirmed she will meet the King, Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Liz Truss before the Queen’s funeral, but disclosed minimal details after arriving in the UK, saying she will ‘share the sorrow that New Zealand has’ with the new monarch.
‘I’ll simply share the sorrow that New Zealand has and pass on our deepest condolences,’ the visiting PM said at a press conference in London.
‘At the end of the day, although this is a period of transition for him, he has also lost his beloved mother. For us and New Zealand, that’s first and foremost.’
Ms Ardern, who said she is planning to attend the Queen’s lying in state at Westminster Hall ahead of the funeral, also confirmed she will meet with Liz Truss.
The visiting PM said the Queen’s death and new King will be the ‘focus of conversation’ when she and Ms Truss meet.
She said she will also likely discuss Ukraine and the UK’s free trade agreement with New Zealand.
‘I am sure we will also transact our relationship as well, but it is all within the context of the week of mourning that the UK is currently in,’ she said.
Meeting William will be an opportunity to repay his support of New Zealand in 2019, when the royal flew to the country following the Christchurch massacre, Ms Ardern said.
‘The Prince of Wales has always been there for New Zealand in its times of grief,’ she said.
‘He’s been there for us in our times of grief and so this is a time for us to be there for him and his family too.’
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office officials reportedly sent 1,000 handwritten invitations – for both the reception and Monday’s funeral – to heads of state to almost every country in the world bar Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Russia, Belarus and Myanmar.
Mr Biden will arrive this evening and French president Emmanuel Macron, German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Italian president Sergio Matarella are among other notable attendees.
The US presidential plane, known as Air Force One, tends to land at Stansted Airport on visits to Britain in order to avoid disruption at Heathrow.
It’s highly unlikely the president will be on board the shuttle bus with other dignitaries. Instead, he is expected travel via ‘The Beast’ while he’s in the capital.
The custom-built Cadillac is said to have eight-inch thick doors, run-flat tires, bulletproof glass, its own oxygen supply, a couple of pints of the president’s blood and a completely sealed interior to ward off a chemical attack.
It is estimated to weigh between seven and nine tonnes.
Biden’s motorcade The Beast crosses a bridge on the way to his summit with Putin in Geneva. It is believed it will make an appearance in London this weekend as the leader of the free world arrives for the Queen’s funeral
Floral Tributes are left at Green Park next to Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth II before her funeral preparations get underway
Mourners form a massive queue near Tower Bridge this morning as they wait to see the Queen lying-in-state
Mourners queueing at Tower Bridge in central London this morning as they wait to pay their respects to the Queen
Several hundred dignitaries from around the world will be in London to pay their respects to the Queen, in what is set to be one of the biggest logistical and diplomatic events in the UK in decades.
The official capacity of Westminster Abbey is 2,200 people, and it is expected to be full. The public will be able to watch the service live through television streams.
No 10 declined to describe the conversations with allies as formal bilateral meetings, and instead portrayed them as chats to offer condolences over the Queen’s death, during which politics is likely to come up.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘There won’t be formal bilaterals in the way we normally recognise them.
‘But we will have a significant number of world leaders, heads of state in the country. She will be meeting a small proportion of those over the weekend.
‘These will be opportunities to discuss memories of Her Majesty, but in some instances it will be the first time they’ve met since she became Prime Minister.’
They will join members of the royal family, UK prime ministers past and present and key figures from public life at Westminster Abbey – which can hold about 2,000 people – at 11am on Monday.
Male dignitaries at the funeral will be advised to wear morning dress or dark lounge suits with a black tie, with dark day dresses and hats for female mourners.
National dress may also be worn, while serving military officers can wear ceremonial uniforms without swords.
People wake up after a night spent at a makeshift campsite set up along The Mall as temperatures plunge
What will happen at the ‘reception of the century’ on Sunday and who will be there?
King Charles III is set to play host to hundreds of world leaders, dignitaries and VIPs at Buckingham Palace on Sunday, ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday.
The grand reception will see them formally welcomed by the new king in a gathering of world leaders not seen in decades.
Reports suggest Harry and Meghan were initially invited but are now not expected to attend because the event is for ‘working members’ of the Royal Family. It’s not clear whether Prince Andrew was invited.
Kate, who is now the Princess of Wales, Princess Anne and the Earl and Countess of Wessex will also be present.
Male guests must wear lounge suits while women must opt for morning dress, without hats or decorations, in keeping with the sombre tone of the event.
The roughly 500 attendees will meet in the picture gallery and state apartments at 6pm, where they will be served drinks and canapes, reports the Telegraph.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office officials reportedly sent 1,000 handwritten invitations – for both the reception and Monday’s funeral – to heads of state to every country in the world bar Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Russia, Belarus and Myanmar.
In terms of other royals, those expected to show up include: King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, and Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco.
King Philip and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary and King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden are also on the list.
The former king of Spain Juan Carlos, who could soon face trial in the UK for harassing a former lover, and former Queen Sofia, have also been invited.
US President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron lead the big names of world leaders set to attend, joined by Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Australia’s Anthony Albanese.
It is believed the Empress Masako of Japan, who retreated from public view some 20 years ago, will also attend alongside Emperor Naruhito.
Other world leaders include:
– Droupadi Murmu, President of India
– Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Austria
– Gitanas Nauseda, President of Lithuania
– Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lankan President
– Maia Sandu, President of Moldova
– Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of Germany
– Yoon Suk-yeol, South Korean President
– Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil
– Andrzej Duda, President of Poland
– Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy
– Charles Michel, President of the European Council
– Ursula von der Leyen, President of European Commission
– Egils Levits, President of Latvia
– Paula-Mae Weekes, President of Trinidad and Tobago
– Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestinian Prime Minister
– Sauli Niinisto, President of Finland
– Katalin Novak, Hungarian President
– Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland
– Micheál Martin, Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland
– Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica
– Floyla Tzalam, Governor General of Belize
– Susan Dougan, Governor General of St Vincent and the Grenadines
– Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh