Monday, March 20, 2023

Who is invited and who is not?

This privilege of invitation was extended to all Commonwealth nations, while other countries were limited to only two guests, in addition to state dignitaries.

Decorated military veteran Ben Roberts-Smith is among the special guests to represent Australia at the funeral. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in action as a corporal in the Australian SAS in Afghanistan in 2010.

The Australian delegation will also include Chris Waller, a horse trainer who has groomed many of the Queen’s horses.

Australia has offered to help delegations from Commonwealth South Pacific countries travel to the UK for funerals, including Samoa, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Trudeau invited Leslie Arthur Palmer, a member of the Coast Guard who received the Canadian Cross of Valor for rescuing two fishermen in 2004. Killing Eve actress Sandra Oh, who is part of Justin Trudeau’s official delegation, will be also present. She will take part in a procession of national winners, but is not expected to take place at Westminster Abbey.

Other recipients of the Order of Canada, the country’s second-highest civilian honour, will also attend, including musician Gregory Charles and Olympic gold-medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury.

Little-known personalities

Her Majesty had many close associates, including her bridesmaids and footmen, who would most likely also be present to pay their respects to the late Queen. A confirmed guest is Angela Kelly, the late Queen’s seamstress and trusted confidante.

And taking their place alongside the visiting dignitaries will be 183 members of the public, chosen for their service to the community. It may be a grand state occasion, but it is also the burial of the people, reflecting the late monarch’s bond with her subjects.

All of these members of the public were recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List earlier this year.

The late Queen had clarified that winners of honors from across the UK would be included in the guest list, along with bearers of the George Cross and Victoria Cross, whose bravery she held in high esteem.

Among them was Barbara Crellin, from Rutland, who was awarded the MBE for setting up an emergency first aid program in her local community. Ms Crellin, 71, also volunteers to encourage children to play sports.

“When they told me why they were calling me, you could have knocked me over with a pen,” Ms Crellin said of her phone call from the Cabinet Office last Saturday, inviting her to attend the funeral.

Pranav Bhanot, 34, a solicitor and parish councilor honored for distributing food to homebound residents in Chigwell, Essex during the lockdown, said the invitation was ‘the last thing he expected’.

Robert Lodge, from Weeley Heath in Essex, is a veteran who has been honored for his work with the Red Cypher charity, which supports past and current members of the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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