Monday’s funeral of Queen Elizabeth II was one of the biggest diplomatic gatherings in decades. Leaders of almost 200 countries and territories, including roughly 90 presidents and Prime Ministers, flew in to attend. Many of them did not get royal treatment, however.
How do you mean?
Japan’s Emperor and other Heads of State arrived at the funeral on buses. But that’s due to the immense security challenge. With all those powerful people in attendance and 1 million people visiting London, the UK had to deploy its biggest security detail since WWII. 10,000 police officers were on duty (and that’s only the uniformed ones), snipers were eyeing the throngs from rooftops, and a special unit had focused on people who may be dangerously “fixated” on the royal family. And that’s not all.
Most of the UK economy shut down. Schools, banks, sporting events, and many retailers – including McDonald’s – shut down after the government declared Monday a bank holiday and encouraged companies to give their workers a day off. Heathrow Airport in London announced it would change ~15% of its flights for Monday so that the airplane noise wouldn’t interfere with the funeral proceedings. But coming at a time when the UK economy is hurting, the disruption caused by the queen’s funeral irked many Brits.
Weren’t they all celebrating their departed Monarch?
With many Britons struggling financially due to rising inflation and skyrocketing energy costs, there have been questions over the cost of the funeral to taxpayers, particularly among those who are not fans of the monarchy. People have expressed their annoyance about nationwide traffic jams, school closures, and retail closings. For instance, people have expressed frustration that their non-emergency medical procedures and appointments were postponed. As the daughter of a man whose dentist appointment was canceled told PA Media, “It’s abhorrent to ask people like himself to lose their teeth for an unelected head of state in the 21st century.”