Strict Rules Ruto Must Follow While Attending Queen Elizabeth II's Funeral

Kenya's fifth Head of State will however encounter tough regulations that will affect the rest of the foreign heads of states travelling to the funeral.

Strict Rules Ruto Must Follow While Attending Queen Elizabeth II's Funeral
President William Ruto during his inauguration on September 13, 2022. /FILE

President William Ruto will fly out of the country on Sunday, September 18 for a trip to the United Kingdom.

Sources privy to the matter told Viral Tea that Ruto will fly to the UK to attend the late Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral service to be held on Monday, September 19, at the Westminister Abey in London.

On the day he will be set to travel, the British High Commission in Nairobi will host a memorial service for Her Majesty the Queen at All Saints Cathedral from 3 pm. 

The day before that, Brigadier Ronnie Westerman, the British Defence Advisor to Kenya will represent the British High Commission at a special memorial service on Saturday, September 17 at St Philips Church Naromoru, Nyeri County, according to an invite sent to Viral Tea. This was one of the churches which the late Queen Elizabeth visited during her reign.

The late Queen Elizabeth II. /FILE

No Private Jets To Queen's Funeral

Kenya's fifth Head of State will however encounter tough regulations that will affect the rest of the foreign heads of states travelling to the funeral.

For starters, world leaders will be required to travel to London on commercial flights, meaning they have been barred from using private jets to the capital as well as using helicopters to move around. This is because Heathrow Airport will not be allowing private jets to the country.

This, therefore, leaves Ruto with two options for commercial flights; the UK's national carrier, British Airways and the national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ), both of whom have direct flights between Nairobi and London. Ruto had pledged a two-year turnaround strategy for Kenya Airways, terming the current financial crisis that cripples the operations of the carrier as a reflection of internal and managerial mistakes.

“The crisis has nothing to do with the market, it is all about conflict of interests that we all know. There is huge potential in the air travel and KQ was doing well to a certain point until the problems struck,” he said during the Kenya Kwanza manifesto launch on Thursday, June 30.

According to Politico, the invitation by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has also barred the heads of state from using their own cars to attend the funeral. In place of private cars, the leaders will be transited in a bus from the receiving point in west London to the funeral venue.

An invite sent to world leaders also gave strict directives that allow only the heads of state from each country and their partners to attend the funeral. Since the queen’s funeral is one of the most significant international events hosted by the UK in recent times, Westminster Abbey will be so packed for the event.

“In fact, it will be impossible for more than a single, senior representative per country and their other half to attend,” the FCDO said in the official protocol message regarding the event.

Meeting World Leaders

On the evening before the funeral service, King Charles III will host a reception for all the overseas leaders at Buckingham Palace.

The leaders, from across the globe, will be able to attend the lying-in-state of the queen’s body, and sign the condolence book at Lancaster House. It is here that they will be allowed to pay tribute to the queen, an activity that will be recorded for the media.  

On the day of the funeral, the heads of state and their partners will arrive at Westminster Abbey in escorted coaches from a location in west London.

“Multiple and comprehensive layers of security will be in place across London and at all the official venues used for the state funeral and associated events,” a second FCDO document detailing the logistical arrangements for those travelling from overseas states.

FCDO has also warned that leaders’ requests for bi-laterals will not be considered.

After the funeral service, foreign leaders will attend a reception hosted by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. The reception venue will be at Dean’s Yard, still within the grounds of the abbey.

Aerial view of Heathrow Airport in London. /INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REVIEW

After the reception, the foreign leaders will be allowed to travel back to West London, where they will be free to collect their cars.

Other foreign leaders expected to be in attendance include US President Joe Biden, the German Chancellor, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau and Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin, South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, and French President Emmanuel Macron among others are also expected to be in attendance.