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Queen Elizabeth's funeral: Who is coming from the Middle East and North Africa?

Representatives from countries including Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon will attend the funeral in Westminister Abbey, while Syria was not invited
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown at the Palace of Westminster in London, 14 September 2022 (AFP)

The funeral of the late British monarch Queen Elizabeth II will be attended by representatives of several Middle Eastern states, while some have not been invited. 

The funeral, which takes place on Monday, will be one of the largest ever gathering of royals, prime ministers, presidents, and leaders from around the world.

The queen, who had reigned since 1952, died on 8 September at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96.

Her coffin was moved last Wednesday to Westminster Hall in London, where it lay in state for four days, allowing thousands of people to bid her farewell before the official funeral. 

The coffin will then be moved from the medieval hall, which has room for around 2,200 people, to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral.

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The UK has asked leaders to travel on commercial flights to London, from where they will be transported by buses to Westminster Abbey.

Almost 500 foreign dignitaries will attend the event, but the UK's Foreign Office said that officials from six countries were not invited to the funeral, namely Syria, Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Venezuela.

An invitation at the level of ambassadorship was sent to the Islamic Republic of Iran, although Tehran has no ambassador in the UK. However, Iran's ambassador in the UAE, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, is reportedly attending the funeral, pending official confirmation. 

Saudi crown prince will not attend funeral

Members of royal families from the Middle East expected to attend include Jordan's King Abdullah II, Crown Prince of Morocco Moulay Hassan, Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq Al Said and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. 

Middle East political leaders set to attend the funeral include Lebanon's interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Palestine's Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

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Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is set to attend rather than Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had initially said he would be there “if the schedule allows”.

Israel's President Isaac Herzog will be at the funeral, while the country's Prime Minister Yair Lapid will not attend.

Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is no longer expected to attend the funeral on Monday, a British foreign office source said on Sunday, contrary to Britain's earlier expectations that he would.

Saudi Arabia would be represented instead by Prince Turki bin Mohammed Al Saud, the source said. Prince Turki is a minister of state and has been a member of the cabinet since 2018

The crown prince's trip to London would have been the first since the killing in October 2018 of Middle East Eye and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents at the consulate in Istanbul. 

On Friday, Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz said: “The crown prince should not be allowed to be part of this mourning and not be allowed to stain [the Queen's] memory and use this time mourning to seek legitimacy and normalisation.”

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