President Droupadi Murmu visited London’s Westminster Hall on Sunday, where the body of Queen Elizabeth II lies in state. The president also paid tribute to the departed soul and the people of India on her behalf.
Murmu, who will be in London for three days on Monday to attend Elizabeth II’s state funeral, has also signed a register of condolences on behalf of the Indian government.
Murmu was joined by acting High Commissioner Sujit Ghosh at London’s Lancaster House, where visiting world leaders stop by to sign a register of condolences in memory of Elizabeth II who died in Scotland on September 8 at the age of 96.
The Indian head of state, who arrived on Saturday night, is expected to be at the abbey along with about 500 world leaders and global royals in a congregation of about 2,000 for a gloomy ceremony that begins at 11 a.m. local time and concludes with a two-minute silence around an hour later.
President Murmu invited to Buckingham Palace
Ahead of Monday’s funeral service, the president will be invited to a reception hosted by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla at Buckingham Palace. All visiting heads of state, government leaders and official foreign guests are expected at what has been described as an “official state event”.
Zaki Cooper, who worked in the Queen’s Royal House between 2009 and 2012 and has written extensively about the monarchy, believes the Queen had an “affectionate relationship with India” and played an important role in the Empire’s transition to the Commonwealth. .
“By recognizing many countries’ desire for self-determination, she embraced the Commonwealth,” Cooper said.
Commonwealth representatives to attend funeral service
Representatives of the wealthy and Commonwealth will be in attendance at Monday’s funeral service.
Hours before the ceremony, the Queen’s Lying-in-State will be closing public queues for the past few days, with wait times of around 24 hours on weekends as the queue stretches to around 6 miles in length.
The gates of Abbey will open Monday at 8 a.m. local time to visiting dignitaries and guests invited to the funeral, including hundreds of people recognized at the Queen’s Birthday Honors earlier this year, many honored by the late monarch for their extraordinary contributions to the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and volunteering in their local communities.
(With inputs from PTI)