Foreign dignitaries must share buses to travel to Queen’s funeral | queen elizabeth ii

Foreign heads of state arriving for the Queen’s funeral must travel by bus en masse to Westminster Abbey, rather than using private cars, according to newly issued government guidelines.

The documents, seen by the Guardian, set out strict rules for the dozens of international presidents, kings, queens and prime ministers expected to attend the funeral, calling on them to travel on commercial flights to avoid flooding London’s airports.

The instructions reveal the logistical challenge of accommodating the huge number of overseas dignitaries arriving in London next weekend – and will pose a dilemma for Joe Biden, who is likely to demand a significant amount of extra security. The US president has confirmed that he will attend the funeral in person.

The guidance, first reported by Politico, says international invitees should keep their delegations as small as possible and that funeral invitations are ideally limited to the head of state and his wife, without their family or staff .

It said the government “regrets that, due to limited space at the state funeral and related events, no other members of the chief guest’s family, staff or entourage may be admitted.”

The guidance adds: “The Royal Funeral Unit would therefore be grateful if accompanying delegations can be kept as small as possible. This will also reduce disruption and transit time at airports. Wherever possible, overseas delegates should plan to arrive in the UK at least one day before the state funeral or the first event they will be attending.’

It also says Heathrow will not be available for private flight arrangements or aircraft parking and says heads of state should use other London airports if they cannot fly commercially. He says the government will deny the use of helicopter transport due to the sheer volume of visitors.

The guidance also advises foreign leaders that “flags will not be displayed at any airport upon arrival or departure.”

London’s roads cannot cope with the volume of private cars of foreign leaders expected to attend the funeral. Instead, they will be taken to a separate venue in London where the government will “provide coach transport from a central assembly point…Due to traffic restrictions, it will not be possible for visitors to travel to such events in their own vehicles”.

The guidance tells visiting leaders they can record short messages as they sign condolence messages, but there will be “no Autocue or make-up facilities”.

The Secretary of State, James Cleverley, will host a reception for all international guests attending the state funeral shortly after its conclusion, near Westminster Abbey.

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