LONDON - Prince William has told well-wishers that walking behind the coffin of his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II was “challenging” and brought back memories of the funeral of his mother, Princess Diana.
William and his wife, Catherine, the new Princess of Wales, spent almost an hour Thursday chatting with dozens of people and viewed floral tributes outside Sandringham Estate, the royal country residence in Norfolk.
During Wednesday’s coffin procession, William and his brother, Prince Harry, walked behind the queen’s coffin along with their father, King Charles III, and the king’s siblings from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.
William, speaking of the procession, said: “The walk yesterday was challenging.”
Jane Wells, 54, was among the thousands who turned up outside Sandringham Thursday. “I said how proud his mother would have been of him, and he said how hard it was yesterday because it brought back memories of his mother’s funeral,” she told reporters afterward.
Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Many in Britain still remember the image of a young William and his brother Harry walking with their father behind her coffin.
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- Queen’s reign saw British leave Mideast with a mixed legacy
- With its queen gone, Britain ponders how to discuss death
- Palace reveals details of queen’s state funeral on Monday
- Find more AP coverage here: https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii
CANBERRA, Australia - Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Thursday it would be “perfectly acceptable” for King Charles III to continue to advocate for climate change action in his new apolitical role as monarch.
Albanese was speaking ahead of his departure for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
Albanese said the new king would decide whether he continues to advocate for reduced greenhouse gas emissions, as he has done for years as a prince.
“It’s important that the monarchy distance from party political issues. But there are issues like climate change where I think if he chooses to continue to make statements in that area, I think that is perfectly acceptable,” Albanese said. “It should be something that’s above politics, the need to act on climate change.”
The British monarch is also Australia’s head of state.
KAMPALA, Uganda - Hundreds of Ugandans attended a memorial service in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, a somber ceremony that underscored affection for the departed British monarch in this East African country.
Speakers in the Anglican cathedral in the Ugandan capital on Thursday included Foreign Affairs Minister Jeje Odongo, who paid tribute to the queen as an “endearing” leader.
“She wasn’t the queen of England alone,” she said. “She was the queen of all of us in the Commonwealth.”
The Rev. Jonathan Kisawuzi, the cathedral’s dean, spoke of the queen’s “faith, courage and direction” in her 70-year reign. “We will remember her always,” he said.
Uganda is one of the 56 member states of the Commonwealth, a group of mostly former British colonies that now includes others, such as Rwanda, that were not part of the British Empire.
TORONTO - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’ll travel to London with former prime ministers for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and that Canadians will continue to benefit from the stability the monarchy provides.
Trudeau and Canada’s opposition leaders paid tribute to the late queen in a special session of Parliament on Thursday. She visited the country 22 times as monarch.
Trudeau said she embraced her role as queen of Canada and said “her sudden absence has struck us all palpably and profoundly.”
“Her Majesty was everywhere. Her face on our coins. Her portrait hanging in Parliament and post offices. Her televised Christmas address a cozy ritual in homes from coast to coast to coast,” Trudeau said.
“Canadians feel like they’ve lost a family member - a family member who grew up alongside us.”
Trudeau said in Canada’s constitutional monarchy, the crown’s function is to be a bedrock for the constitution, and to transcend daily political debates.
LONDON - A group of British legislators sanctioned by China have written to officials expressing concerns that the Chinese government has been invited to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
Conservative lawmaker Tim Loughton told the BBC on Thursday the invitation to China should be rescinded, citing the country’s human rights abuses and treatment of Uyghurs in the far western region of Xinjiang.
Britain “can’t possibly have official representatives of the Chinese government attending such an important occasion,” he said.
The Chinese ambassador to the U.K. is banned from Parliament after Beijing sanctioned seven British legislators last year over their stance on China.
It is not clear whether President Xi Jinping, currently meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Uzbekistan, will attend Monday’s state funeral. Media reports suggest Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan may attend.
Russia, Belarus and Myanmar were not included in the funeral invitation list.
LONDON - Thousands of people have turned up at Sandringham Estate, the royal country estate in Norfolk, to greet Prince William and his wife Catherine.
The royal couple appeared outside the gates of the estate to view the sea of floral tributes left for Queen Elizabeth II and to greet thousands of well-wishers.
A large crowd gathered outside the country residence on the eastern English coast early Thursday, hoping for a chance to meet and speak with the couple.
William and Kate, known since the queen’s death as the Prince and Princess of Wales, walked slowly along metal barriers as they received bouquets from the public and chatted to well-wishers.
Sandringham was the queen’s country retreat, where she spent some of her childhood years and where she presided over many Christmas family gatherings.
LONDON - Buckingham Palace has announced that two minutes of silence will be observed across the United Kingdom at the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
The funeral is to be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday, with some 2,000 guests attending, including visiting heads of state and other dignitaries.
Officials said Thursday that after the funeral, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun carriage.
It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the queen will be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.
LONDON - While mourners in London are standing in a 4-mile (6.5-kilometer) line to view Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin lying in state, members of the royal family are meeting crowds gathered in other parts of Britain.
Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, went to Manchester in northern England on Thursday to view tributes left for the queen and speak to well-wishers.
Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, was due to visit Glasgow in Scotland later in the day with her husband, Sir Tim Laurence.
Meanwhile, the Prince and Princess of Wales were to view flowers left outside Sandringham House in Norfolk, in eastern England.
King Charles III, the new monarch, spent a day in private.
By late Thursday morning, the line had grown to about 3½ miles (5.6 kilometers) long on the south bank of the River Thames, reaching as far as Tower Bridge.
Authorities warn those planning to come: “You will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down, as the queue will keep moving.”
The closed coffin sits on a raised platform, called a catafalque, inside Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament.
Visitors go through airport-style security. Only small bags are permitted.
The venue is to stay open 24 hours a day until just after dawn on Monday, the day of the queen’s state funeral.
Wearing a high-visibility vest, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was on hand Thursday to speak to some of the thousands of people in the queue along the south bank of the River Thames.
He paid tribute to the late monarch, who died last Thursday at age 96, ending a 70-year reign.
“She was someone you could trust totally, completely and absolutely, whose wisdom was remarkable,” he said.
Her death and transfer of the crown to her son, King Charles III, “means we will move seamlessly to another person who will demonstrate service for the country, and see their role not as over everyone, but to serve the country and the constitution,” Welby said.
Authorities said the line on Thursday stretched about 2.6 miles (4.2 kilometers) along the south bank of the River Thames.
The queen’s flag-draped oak coffin is lying in state at 900-year-old Westminster Hall for four days before her funeral on Monday.
People, hushed and somber, streamed past each side of the coffin.
Military detachments standing guard are rotated every 20 minutes.
One of the ceremonial guards appeared to faint early Thursday and fell off the raised platform. His condition was not immediately clear.
The queen died in Scotland last Thursday at age 96, ending a 70-year reign.
PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron has sent King Charles III his condolences and offered him his full support in addressing “common challenges.”
Those challenges include “the protection of the climate and the planet,” a statement from the French presidency said.
Before he became monarch after last week’s death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles often spoke out on those issues. But as sovereign he is expected to tread more carefully in his political comments.
Macron spoke with the king by phone on Wednesday. He said on Twitter he will attend the Queen’s funeral.
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