The global significance of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will be crystal clear on the day as leaders from around the world land in the United Kingdom to pay their respects to the former monarch.
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will be among the many international public figures invited to attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, London, on Monday, September 19.
Some have speculated about whether former President Donald Trump will be extended an invitation, or if Biden ought to make arrangements for one.
However, while Trump has spoken of his admiration for the late queen, reports suggest he may not be among the 2,000 invitees expected to pack out the service.
A number of tweets sent September 12, 2022, claim that Donald Trump has not been invited to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Trump has spoken publicly of his admiration for the queen.
Among condolence messages sent via his Truth Social app, the former president said: “Melania and I will always cherish our time together with the Queen, and never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor.”
While there may have been warm feelings, it does not appear that the former president will attend the queen’s funeral in London—at least, not in an official capacity with the US
Answering questions aboard Air Force One on September 12, 2022, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the White House had only received an invitation for President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
“So, the invitation for the president and the first lady came in the form of a note sent by the protocol directorate of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office,” Jean-Pierre said.
“It was received late Saturday night and as you all know the president accepted the invitation on Sunday morning and, [in] so far as invites, I would refer you to the United Kingdom, their government, on that protocol in general.
“The invitation… extended to the US government was for the president and the first lady only.”
When asked whether Biden, if allowed, would bring former presidents to the funeral, Jean-Pierre said “this is a decision that is made for the UK government, they decide who gets invited.”
“Again, the invitation was for the president and first lady only. It is for them to move to decide on how they are going to proceed on invitations, and they have,” she said.
Reports elsewhere appear to confirm this.
Politics has reportedly seen documents from the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) that state it will not be possible for more than one senior representative per country, along with their spouse, to attend the funeral.
The FCDO said it “regrets that, due to limited space at the state funeral service and associated events, no other members of the principal guest’s family, staff or entourage may be admitted.”
This means that other former presidents such as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton would also not be among the official US government guests.
Newsweek could not verify the authenticity of these documents independently, although Sky News also reported that it understood the Politico report to be correct. Moreover, it would take little effort for the FCDO to refute the reports if they were untrue.
Nevertheless, while the FCDO letters suggest that invitations may only be extended to heads of state and their spouses within each state delegation, there are still 2,000 seats at Westminster Abbey for the funeral.
Without official confirmation otherwise, we cannot say with certainty that Trump won’t attend as he may yet receive an invitation separately. This same courtesy could also be extended to the Obamas and/or the Clintons, for example.
There is also no evidence (as some of the tweets imply) that Trump has been singled out for not being invited.
According to the same documents, King Charles III will host a reception for all leaders at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening before the funeral.
It has also been reported that Biden and other world leaders must travel together by bus for the service.
Newsweek has contacted Buckingham Palace, the FCDO, Politics, and Donald Trump for comment.
The White House said that the only invitation to the funeral received by the US government was for President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
Moreover, reports citing British government documents suggest that only heads of state and their spouses will be invited to the funeral as part of official state delegations due to the sheer number of anticipated attendees and a shortage of seats.
However, with 2,000 seats in Westminster Abbey, there is still the possibility that Trump may receive a separate invitation (as may the Obamas and Clintons, for example) as an individual, rather than an official representative of the US government.
There is no evidence that Trump was specifically not invited, as other former US presidents are also not on the guest list.
FACT CHECK BY Newsweek’s Fact Check team