The Macrons pay their respects to the Queen: Sunglasses-clad Emmanuel Macron and French First Lady Brigitte join host of world leaders heading to Westminster Hall to see monarch lying in state
- French President Emmanuel Macron and his First Lady Brigitte were spotted walking towards Westminster
- The pair donned sunglasses as they headed through central London, flanked by aides and security guards
- They will join King Charles and other world leaders and royals for a reception at Buckingham Palace tonight
- Macrons will present the new king with a picture book celebrating the Queen’s visits to France over the years
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have been spotted in Westminster as they make their way to pay their respects to the Queen who is lying-in-state before funeral ceremonies tomorrow.
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, the French President and First Lady 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.
‘From her coronation on, she knew and spoke with all of our presidents. No other country had the privilege of welcoming her as many times as we did,’ Macron said last week in a tribute to the queen, whose last official visit to France took place in 2014.
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.
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
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
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
The Macrons donned sunglasses as they strolled through central London, flanked by aides and security guards
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla are preparing to host up to 1,000 VIPs at the Buckingham Palace reception this evening.
Those expected to attend 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.
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 jounralist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018.
China has also announced it will send its vice-president, Wang Qishan, to the funeral.
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 pay their respects inside Westminster Hall
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at London Stansted Airport, in Stansted, Britain, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022
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
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 is seen embracing President of Russia Vladimir Putin in June
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.
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