Northern Ireland

Politicians from Ireland and around the world gather for state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Leaders from Northern Ireland's five main political parties have attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London..
Leaders from Northern Ireland's five main political parties have attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London..

SENIOR figures from politics in Ireland and around the world gathered at Westminster Abbey for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

The queen was laid to rest on Monday following 70 years of service after family, friends and the thousands of people said farewell to the late monarch.

Her grieving family walked behind her coffin throughout the long day, a simple but public tribute, and the emotion was clear to see on the face of King Charles, who looked close to tears during the earlier Westminster Abbey funeral service.

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin were among the some 200 to 250 leaders and their spouses assembled in London. The heads of the five main parties at Stormont also attended and sat side-by-side during the service.

Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O'Neill tweeted that she respectfully joined leaders from Britain, Ireland and the international community at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II as she was laid to rest.

"It is a sad day for her family who mourn her loss, and all those of a British identity from across our community who grieve also," Ms O'Neill said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, attended with fellow Commonwealth premiers Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Australia's Anthony Albanese. US President Joe Biden arrived at the abbey in the presidential limousine, dubbed The Beast, with his wife Jill.

Hundreds of people gathered at locations across the north to watch the funeral.

The grounds of Belfast City Hall drew one of the largest crowds, as people congregated on the lawns to watch the service on big screens. Many sat on blankets or in foldable chairs, while others chose to stand. The gathering was diverse, with military veterans wearing medals and young children among those in the crowd.

In the city centre, the streets were the emptiest they had been since the last Covid lockdown.

About 200 people watched the funeral live on the front lawn at St Malachy's Church in Hillsborough, with several dozen gathering outside the gates of Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland's royal residence.

Meanwhile, members of the public offered support to staff at a Co Derry retail store after they threatened to defy an order to close for Queen Elizabeth's funeral. The SuperValu store in Dungiven closed for three hours. The planned closure sparked controversy last week after staff threatened to defy the order.

A free food facility in the town, which also faced calls to close from a Church of Ireland minister kept its doors open to the public.