Reigning for over 70 years, British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, bid farewell on September 8 at the ripe old age of 96. In honor of the Queen, a long 10-day funeral plan codenamed ‘Operation London Bridge’ has been put into effect, ending with her being laid to rest on Westminster abbey on September 19. In an event, which will be attended by global world leaders and watched by billions worldwide, there have been few special exceptions- one being to completely evade the participation of 6 countries and their leaders.
The first State funeral after 6 decades
The royal funeral shall be the first State funeral in the United Kingdom since the death of then Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965. Dignitaries from around the globe are expected to witness the last rites of one of the UK’s most powerful monarchs.
However, sources are rife implying the absence of leaders from Russia, Belarus Myanmar Venezuela Syria, and Afghanistan. Reportedly, invitations were sent to all world leaders barring the six nations.
According to the New York Times, the step was taken considering the current political climate and the relationship that the UK shares with these nations.
Interestingly, three countries namely North Korea Iran, and Nicaragua were sent invitations but only on the ambassadorial levels, implying that their respective leaders were shunned from the event.
Why were the countries not invited?
The United Kingdom, alongside other European countries criticized Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, currently in its 6th month, while Belarus was excluded for its alliance with Russia.
Syria’s leader Bashar al Assad, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, and representatives of the Taliban have also been excluded citing present political scenarios in the above countries.