George HW Bush once worried that his funeral would be a non-event, a fear that proved unfounded on Wednesday as thousands lined up to say goodbye to the 41st president of the United States.
Al Gore, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Rudy Giuliani were among the first political heavyweights to arrive for Bush’s funeral – which will be attended by all four living presidents and dozens of world leaders.
Peyton Manning, who paid his respects to Bush’s casket in the Capitol Rotunda earlier this week, was also seen walking into the ceremony.
Bush will receive a national farewell at Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday following three days of remembrance by dignitaries and ordinary citizens.
Former vice president Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden were among the first guests to arrive for George HW Bush’s State Funeral on Wednesday
Fellow former vice president Al Gore was also seen arriving for the funeral at the Washington National Cathedral
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and his wife Alma arrive with former Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady (far left) to attend the State Funeral for former US President George HW Bush at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was another political heavyweight who was seen walking into Bush’s funeral on Wednesday
Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning arrives prior to Bush’s funeral. Manning paid his respects to Bush’s casket in the Capitol Rotunda earlier this week
As guests streamed into the cathedral, the Bush family gathered at the front of the US Capitol, where Bush’s body has been lying in state in the rotunda for three days.
The family stood in a line as Bush Senior’s casket was led out by the US Air Force Honor Guard.
George W Bush was clearly emotional and appeared to be holding back tears as he watched his father’s body taken down the steps and loaded into the presidential hearse.
The Bush family will arrive with the casket in a motorcade that will end at the cathedral just before the funeral is set to begin.
Everyone from world envoys to sports stars and a man from Maine who used to fix things in Bush’s house have gathered together for the funeral.
George W Bush was clearly emotional and appeared to hold back tears as he watched his father’s casket be carried from the US Capitol before the funeral. (From L-R: Columba Bush, Jeb Bush, Doro Koch, Bobby Koch, Sharon Bush, Neil Bush, Laura Bush, and George W Bush)
It will also bring together Democratic and Republicans during a time in which American politics have become increasingly partisan.
Current Vice President Mike Pence could be seen chatting with Biden before the funeral began, and later chatting with former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.
The former presidents were also all seated together, with Bill Clinton happily chatting with Michelle Obama before the ceremony as Jimmy Carter took his seat next to Hillary Clinton.
The Bush family wanted the ceremony to be a show of unity, even assuring Donald Trump this past summer that he would not be left out of their patriarch’s funeral.
And the family was true to its word, as Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner could be seen rubbing shoulders among the guests before the funeral began.
Former New York City Mayor and current attorney for President Donald Trump Rudy Giuliani arrives for the State Funeral
US Sen Dianne Feinstein and journalist Tom Brokaw are also attending Bush’s funeral. They are both seen here walking into the National Cathedral
Mourners file into the Washington National Cathedral before a State Funeral for former President George HW Bush
Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle – who canceled part of her book global book tour to make it to the ceremony – are also attending alongside Bill and Hillary Clinton and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.
The future British King Prince Charles and former Prime Minister John Major are attending, along with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, the King and Queen of Jordan, and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney – who is expected to deliver a eulogy.
George W Bush, the former leader’s eldest son and the 43rd President, will deliver the centerpiece eulogy.
Bush Senior’s funeral marks the first time since Lyndon Johnson’s death in 1973 that a sitting president was not tapped to eulogize a late president.
Former President Barack Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama arrive for the funeral services on Wednesday
The pair could be seen chatting with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel before the ceremony began at the cathedral
Merkel could also be seen chatting to Vice President Mike Pence as she arrived at the National Cathedral on Wednesday
Britain’s Prince Charles walks past US Vice President Mike Pence as he arrives at Bush’s funeral. Prince Charles is among a number of foreign dignitaries who are attending the service
Dick Cheney, who was vice president during George W Bush’s two terms, is seen inside the National Cathedral in Washington DC for Bush Senior’s State Funeral
Bush’s funeral will bring together Democratic and Republican stars during a time in which American politics have become increasingly partisan. Current Vice President Mike Pence is seen here greeting Biden before the start of the funeral
Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were among the members of the Trump administration seen at the funeral on Wednesday
Ivanka and Kushner were seen speaking to Biden and his wife Jill, while Gore could be seen chatting with former president Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter
Pence (left) and former US President Jimmy Carter (center) are seen talking with other attendees prior to the state funeral
Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (left) greets guests during Bush’s funeral service on Wednesday morning
Gore (left) is seen speaking with Biden (second from left) and his wife Jill (center), as former Vice President Dick Cheney, (bottom center) speaks with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (right) before the funeral
Former Canadian Prime Minster Brian Mulroney arrives for the funeral services. Mulroney will deliver a eulogy for Bush during the funeral
Clinton did so for Richard Nixon, and George W Bush eulogized Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford
The other eulogists will be Mulroney, Alan Simpson, the former senator from Wyoming, and presidential historian Jon Meacham – who wrote a Bush biography.
After the national funeral service at the cathedral, Bush’s remains will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St Martin’s Episcopal Church.
He will be buried on Thursday at his family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Bush died Friday in Houston at age 94. His wife of 73 years, Barbara, passed away in April.
Visitors are seen streaming into the National Cathedral before the beginning of Bush’s State Funeral on Wednesday morning
The flag-draped casket bearing the remains of former President George HW Bush lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda is closed to the public to prepare for the State Funeral at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday morning