Ukraine First Lady Olena Zelenska expected to attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral

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Olena Zelenska will represent Ukraine at Queen Elizabeth's funeral credit:Bang Showbiz
Olena Zelenska will represent Ukraine at Queen Elizabeth's funeral credit:Bang Showbiz

Ukraine's First Lady will attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral on behalf of her country.

While President Volodymyr Zelensky will remain in his war-torn country as global leaders say a final farewell to the British monarch - who died on 8 September aged 96 - his wife Olena Zelenska will join dignitaries at the service on Monday (19.09.22) and at a Buckingham Palace reception hosted by King Charles the day before.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Kremlin representatives have not been invited to the funeral following the country's invasion of Ukraine, and nor have dignitaries from Belarus and Myanmar, while Iran will only be represented on an ambassadorial level.

A source told The Sun newspaper: “Olena Zelenska’s presence is yet another sign of the global support for Ukraine while Russia is isolated.

“Britain is one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies. Her presence at the funeral is a sign of that friendship and mutual respect.”

Olena will fly back to Ukraine as soon as the ceremony ends.

While world leaders attending the funeral - including US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Turkish President Recep Erdogan - are expected to pay their respects to the queen at her lying in state at Westminster Hall over the weekend, the Chinese government delegation has reportedly been banned.

According to BBC News, House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle refused a request for access to Westminster Hall due to Chinese sanctions against five MPs and two peers.

Last year, China placed travel bans and asset freezes on nine British citizens, including the seven parliamentarians, for accusing Beijing of mistreating Uighur Muslims.

As a result, the country's ambassador to the UK was banned from Parliament, and that has now been extended to the delegation who had wanted to pay their respects to the queen.

However, China's Vice President Wang Qishan is expected to attend the funeral at Westminster Abbey on behalf of President Xi Jinping.