Bidens Pay Their Respects at Queen’s Coffin


LONDON — U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are paying their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

Biden traveled to Westminster Hall in London where the queen is lying in state. He made the sign of the cross Sunday and put his hand to his heart as he stood quietly near the casket. The Bidens were joined by U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley.

Biden was also expected to sign the official condolence book and attend a reception Sunday at Buckingham Palace hosted by King Charles III before attending the state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday. He is one of hundreds of world leaders in town to pay their respects to the queen, who died Sept. 8 at 96 after 70 years on the throne.

Hundreds of thousands of other mourners have waited for hours in a queue to walk past the queen’s casket.

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WINDSOR, England — Thousands of people made their way to Windsor Castle on Sunday, a day before the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, to lay flowers at the gates of what will be her final resting place.

Many feared the crowds on Monday would prohibit them from paying their last respects at the palace gates, where bouquets had piled up.

Police officers were dotted along the route along the Long Walk, a 3-mile (5-kilometer) avenue where a walking funeral procession will be held before the queen is laid to rest in St. George’s Chapel.

Mourners went through an security check before entering the premises. More are expected to come after the national silence is observed at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Mourners have been told not to bring tents or gazebos, only chairs and blankets. Stalls have opened along the road, selling food and refreshments.

Steve Beeson had come with his family of three and was unwrapping the plastic off his bouquet of flowers for the queen, following a strict rule by organizers.

The queen “was the only head of state we have ever known, all our lives,” he said. “She has been a constant steadying of the reigns for the country through all of these really rough times, the least we can do is come and say ‘Thank you.’”

LONDON — Prince Andrew has paid tribute to his mother Queen Elizabeth II, saying he will forever treasure “your love for a son, your compassion, your care, your confidence.”

Addressing the late monarch as “Mummy, Mother, Your Majesty,” Andrew said “it has been an honor and privilege to serve you.”

Andrew, 62, said “I have found your knowledge and wisdom infinite,” adding: “I will miss your insights, advice and humor.”

Andrew, the third of the queen’s four children, has been relieved of official royal duties and stripped of his honorary military titles over his friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Last year he reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with a woman who says she was trafficked by Epstein and filed a U.S. lawsuit accusing the prince of sexual assault when she was 17. Andrew denies the allegations.

LONDON — London’s transport authority says it is preparing for around 1 million people to visit the British capital Monday for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.

Transport for London chief Andy Byford said Sunday the capital has seen “huge numbers of additional passengers” since the queen died on Sept. 8. But he said demand will “reach a climax” on Monday.

Across the country some 250 extra train services will run, including some overnight trains. Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, said Monday will see the “biggest public transport operation since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

More than 100 Heathrow Airport flights will be canceled to prevent aircraft noise disturbing the funeral at Westminster Abbey Monday morning and the queen’s committal service at Windsor Castle afterward.

The west London airport said 15% of its 1,200 flights due to take off or land on Monday will be disrupted.

LONDON — The wife of King Charles III is paying homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II and her strength as a woman in a world dominated by male leaders for much of her 70-year reign.

In a video message being broadcast Sunday night, Queen Consort Camilla says: “It must have been so difficult for her being a solitary woman.”

She adds: “There weren’t women prime ministers or presidents. She was the only one, so I think she carved her own role.”

The late queen, who died Sept. 8 aged 96, ended years of debate about Camilla’s title when she said on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee earlier this year that it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla, then the Duchess of Cornwall, be known as queen consort when her eldest son became king.

In a personal reflection on her time with the queen, Camilla says: “She’s got those wonderful blue eyes, that when she smiles they light up her whole face.”

LONDON — London Police say they have charged a man who is accused of lunging at Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin as it lay in state at the Houses of Parliament with a public order offense.

The Metropolitan Police say in a statement that Muhammad Khan, a 28-year-old from east London, is charged with behavior intended to “cause alarm, harassment or distress.”

Tracey Holland told Sky News that her 7-year-old niece was pushed out of the way by a man who tried to “run up to the coffin, lift up the standard and try to do I don’t know what.” She said police detained the man in “two seconds.”

Khan is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday – the day of the queen’s state funeral.

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