Wife of Ukrainian President expected to attend Queen’s funeral, Pope will not

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The wife of the president of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, is expected to represent Ukraine at the funeral  in a sign of the gratitude Ukraine feels for the support Britain has given to Ukrainian forces.

It is deemed too dangerous for her husband Volodymyr Zelenskiy to come to the UK and he will not in person be attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Pope will not attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the Vatican has said.

In a statement, the Vatican said the church would instead be represented by a senior official at Monday’s ceremonies.

The statement said:The Most Reverend Paul Gallagher, secretary for relations with states and international organisations, will represent Pope Francis at the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The British government on Friday urged people not to join the miles-long queue to see Queen Elizabeth lying in state in London after warning of waiting times of at least 14 hours.

Elizabeth died in Scotland aged 96 last week, prompting an outpouring of emotion that drew tens of thousands out to see her coffin on its journey to London, and that has now compelled many more to join long lines pay their respects during a four and a half day lying-in-state ceremony.

“Entry (to the queue) will be paused for at least 6 hours,” Britain’s culture department said on Twitter just before 10 a.m. (0900 GMT) “Please do not attempt to join the queue until it re-opens.”

Undeterred, several members of the public took to social media to say they were joining the queue.

The constantly moving queue is snaking its way from Southwark Park to parliament’s Westminster Hall, where some 750,000 people in total are expected to file past the Queen’s coffin before Monday morning.

Temporary toilets have been installed along the route of the queue, and mourners have been asked not to bring camping equipment, sleeping bags or folding chairs.

“I’ve no sensation in my knees at all or my legs,” said Hyacinth Appah, a mourner from London who was in the queue. “But it’s been fine. Most of the people have been lovely and we’ve had quite a nice time.”

The queue was around 4.9 miles long as of 0900 GMT, the culture department’s live queue tracker showed.

Members of the public approaching the final stretch of the queue after waiting all through the night told Reuters they were tired and cold but felt coming to pay their respects to the queen was the right thing to do.

Later on Friday, King Charles, his sister Princess Anne, and brothers Princes Andrew and Edward will keep a silent vigil at the queen’s coffin for 15 minutes.

(Reporting by John Cotton, Antonio Denti and Kylie MacLellan; Writing by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by William James and Mark Porter)

A screen commemorating Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in Piccadilly Circus, London Britain. EPA-EFE/TOLGA AKMEN

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