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Queen Elizabeth’s funeral ‘like organizing 100 state visits at once’

Emperor Naruhito of Japan will be among hundreds of foreign dignitaries taken by bus to Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is laying on collective transport for almost all of those attending in an attempt to control timings and keep the event secure.

It means that scores of the most important political and royal figures in their respective countries will have to share transport to reach the service for the late Queen.

Sources familiar with the plans suggested that coaches would be used for moving dignitaries to and from the service.

A few exceptions are expected, however. Joe Biden, the US president who normally travels in a heavily fortified car dubbed “the beast”, is expected to take his own transport to the funeral.

Emperor Naruhito’s attendance with Empress Masako is noteworthy. Funeral attendances from the Japanese emperor are rare, according to Politico, given the Shinto religion believes death is impure.

But the emperor, 62, who took the throne in 2019, is something of an Anglophile. He studied at Oxford University and developed a friendship with the late Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Emperor Naruhito stayed at Balmoral, the Scottish royal estate, in the early 1980s when studying in the UK, while his father attended Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation three decades earlier.

Confirming the attendance, Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said: “The British Royal family and our imperial family enjoy a long and close relationship, one that stretches back three generations from the current emperor, to the emperor emeritus (former Emperor Akihito) , to Emperor Show.”

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