Nearly 200 key workers and volunteers invited to Queen’s funeral

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Nearly 200 key workers and volunteers have been invited to the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Nearly 200 key workers and volunteers have been invited to the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Nearly 200 key workers and volunteers recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list have been invited to attend her state funeral, Downing Street has said.

The group who received honours in June are to join royals, politicians and world leaders in Westminster Abbey at 11am on Monday.

The 183 everyday heroes will be part of a 2,000-strong congregation gathered at the historic church for the final farewell to the long-reigning monarch.

These individuals drawn from across the UK were recognised for their extraordinary contributions

No 10 spokesperson

They include an 88-year-old woman who records talking books for the blind, the Cabinet Office said.

Ella Marks, from London, attended George VI’s coronation on her father’s shoulders on The Mall in 1937.

Another invitee is Natalie Queiroz, from Birmingham, who teaches children about the dangers of knife crime.

Others include a man from Essex who runs a charity that helps to pay for veterans’ funerals, a woman from London who set up a charity to help adults deal with grief, and a woman from North Shields who built a play centre for disabled children.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “I can confirm that among the guests who have been invited to attend will be almost 200 people who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year, that was in June.

“These individuals drawn from across the UK were recognised for their extraordinary contributions in areas including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, people who volunteered in their communities, charity workers and those who work in healthcare, education and the wider public sector.”

Buckingham Palace has not released a full guest list but several hundred dignitaries from around the world will travel to London to pay their last respects to the Queen in what is set to be one of the biggest logistical and diplomatic events in the UK in decades.

Prime Minister Liz Truss hopes to hold private meetings with US President Joe Biden and a number of other visiting world leaders at No 10 and the Chevening House country residence over the weekend.

The leaders of most Commonwealth countries are expected to attend the funeral, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying she will make the nearly 24-hour journey with a delegation of five others.

Her Canadian and Australian counterparts, Justin Trudeau and Anthony Albanese, have also confirmed their attendance.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is expected to talk to Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan this week, is not expected to come to the UK, with President Droupadi Murmu being dispatched instead.

Chinese vice-president Wang Qishan will reportedly be sent instead of President Xi Jinping.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will also attend, along with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

King Felipe of Spain and his wife, Queen Letizia, are among the European royals who will attend.

Emperor Naruhito of Japan is also set to travel to London, in what would be his first overseas trip since taking the throne in 2019.

Local media reported that Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will attend in the place of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Invitations to the Queen’s funeral have not been sent to Russia or Belarus against the backdrop of the invasion of Ukraine. Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is also excluded, as are Syria and Myanmar.

NHS staff will be among those proceeding with the Queen’s coffin as it begins its journey to Windsor after her funeral.

Some 800 people, including members of the Queen’s Household and Windsor estate staff, will attend the committal service afterwards at 4pm in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours in June acknowledged 1,134 people in the UK who made outstanding contributions to their community and the country.

The list, which coincided with Platinum Jubilee celebrations, included authors, athletes, politicians, actors and medics who came to prominence during the coronavirus pandemic.