President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin paid their respects in the catafalque of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Hall in London.
r Higgins and Mr. Martin, along with their wives Sabina and Mary, attended the unveiling of the Queen. Also present was Martin Fraser, the Irish Ambassador to the UK.
Both the President and the Taoiseach are later invited by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace to a reception for the Heads of State flying in for the State Funeral ceremony tomorrow.
The Head of State’s presence at Westminster Hall is seen as a personal expression of gratitude after the Queen hosted President Higgins on a first Irish state visit to the UK in 2014.
In the four-day visit, which came three years after the Queen’s historic visit to Ireland in 2011, the Queen hosted a glittering white-tie banquet at Windsor Castle – where the monarch will be buried tomorrow in St George’s Chapel alongside her late husband , Prince Philip.
The President and Taoiseach will attend tomorrow’s funeral for the 70-year-old monarch, whose reign was the longest in British and Western history, ten years longer than Queen Victoria’s.
Later today they will sign a book of condolences at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s headquarters at Lancaster House, where an agreement establishing the democratic and independent state of Zimbabwe was known to have been signed.
Irish leaders have two of the coveted seats at Westminster Abbey when politicians and potentates from around the world descend on the English capital for Queen Elizabeth II’s final requiem.
It is most unusual for the President and the Taoiseach to be absent from Ireland at the same time.
But the close ties between these islands have required full formal participation for the first time in this state’s history.
The Irish Embassy in London has facilitated arrangements, certainly through the Metropolitan Police.
Mr. Martin will have no direct engagements with other world leaders at or after tomorrow’s funeral, although there may be an opportunity for a brief word with US President Joe Biden.
Later this week, the Taoiseach will fly to New York for a two-day visit to the United Nations General Assembly.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/president-michael-d-higgins-and-taoiseach-micheal-martin-pay-respects-to-britains-queen-elizabeth-at-westminster-hall-41997937.html President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin pay their respects to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Hall