Ring of steel to guard world leaders: Police form cordon and set up large concrete blocks around Royal Chelsea Hospital where rulers are expected to head to Queen’s funeral by bus
- Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau and Anthony Albanese among world leaders
- The Queen’s lying in state ended at 6.30am today at Westminster Hall
- Queen’s coffin will be taken to Westminster Abbey for funeral at 11am
- Service ends at 12pm and coffin will then be taken for Windsor for committal
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
Police set up a ‘ring of steel’ around the Royal Hospital Chelsea in the early hours of Monday morning to protect world leaders who are expected to travel by bus to the Queen‘s funeral.
Ahead of the 11am service at Westminster Abbey, large concrete blocks were put in place overnight across many of the roads closest to the hospital grounds – with an outer cordon set up by police at 6am, blocking off all roads up to 600 yards away.
Two rows of bollards were stretched across the road, along with a line of portable anti-terror barricades designed to be capable of stopping a bomb-laden truck. More than 20 police officers formed one cordon halfway down Lower Sloane Street.
Around 150 yards beyond the barricade, three trucks used for transporting bollards and security fencing were left parked across the road with orange lights flashing.
Police set up a ‘ring of steel’ around the Royal Hospital Chelsea in the early hours of Monday morning to protect world leaders who are expected to travel by bus to the Queen’s funeral
Local residents, including dog walkers, had to show identification proving where they lived before being allowed through the cordon.
At around 7.30am, two luxury Mercedes cars, believed to be official diplomatic vehicles from Sudan were allowed through the cordon after brief security checks.
US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian premier Anthony Albanese are among the foreign dignitaries attending the funeral.
A car registered to the German embassy was seen arriving at the security cordon – with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier understood to be attending the Queen’s funeral.
Other delegations to have arrived recently include Slovenia, Croatia, Nigeria and Malawi.
A car registered to the Irish embassy was also among a group of diplomatic cars to arrive in Chelsea with a police motorbike escort.
10 protection service officers were seen outside Mayfair’s Claridge’s Hotel.
Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin is also expected to be in attendance.
More than 20 police officers formed one cordon halfway down Lower Sloane Street
A police officer was seen with a protection dog outside the hospital
A police sniper was seen overlooking the hospital on Sunday as preparations got underway to protect the dignataries
Over 100 world leaders, heads of state and diplomats are expected to have been invited to the service – the first full State Funeral that Britain has hosted since Winston Churchill died in 1965.
Leaked Government documents revealed plans for world leaders to travel en masse in a bus to Westminster Abbey for Monday’s service, rather than using private cars.
There has been disquiet from some world leaders after Mr Biden was told by British authorities that he could make his own travel and security arrangements, while they were told they would have to board buses to the funeral.
The US President is understood to have been granted an exemption to travel in the presidential armoured vehicle dubbed ‘The Beast’ while in the capital.
Among those catching the bus will be Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.
According to Politico, the 62-year-old and other visiting royals will be bussed to the service under strict Foreign Office guidance.
The website reported Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia and the Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima would also be put on a shuttle bus.
Their decision to attend the Queen’s funeral underscores the importance and the deep bond between the royal families. Traditionally, a Japanese emperor stays away from funerals except for those of his own parents because of a cultural belief based in the Shinto religion that considers death to be impure.
The Queen’s lying in state officially finished at 6.30am on Monday – with an estimated 400,000 mourners thought to have passed through Westminster Hall over the past five days.
Among those catching the bus will be Japanese Emperor Naruhito (pictured) and Empress Masako
The Queen’s lying in state officially finished at 6.30am on Monday – with an estimated 400,000 mourners thought to have passed through Westminster Hall over the past five days
It comes as the Queen is to be reunited with her husband Prince Philip as she is laid to rest in a historic state funeral today. Up to two million mourners are expected to flock to London, Windsor and royal sites around the UK on the national bank holiday, with the service set to draw an estimated 4.1billion TV viewers across the globe.
The royal family, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will be among the 2,000 people gathered at Westminster Abbey to remember the late monarch this morning, before a committal service at Windsor Castle.
They will walk in procession behind the Queen’s coffin as it is carried through the Gothic church by the military bearer party. The King and the Queen Consort will walk immediately behind the coffin.
They will be followed by the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and the Prince and Princess of Wales. George and Charlotte will walk with their parents in a side-by-side in formation, followed by their uncle and aunt the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and other royals.