Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is huge security challenge

Sep 17, 2022, 4:08 PM | Updated: Sep 18, 2022, 4:46 am

People arrive at the end of the queue to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II lying in state, i...

People arrive at the end of the queue to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II lying in state, in Southwark Park, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pack central London for an service attend by 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world. London's Metropolitan Police says the “hugely complex” policing operation is the biggest in the force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics. (James Manning/PA via AP)

(James Manning/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The funeral of the only monarch most Britons have known involves the biggest security operation London has ever seen.

Mayor Sadiq Khan says Monday’s state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II is an “unprecedented” security challenge, with hundreds of thousands of people packing central London and a funeral guest list of 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world.

“It’s been decades since this many world leaders were in one place,” said Khan. “This is unprecedented … in relation to the various things that we’re juggling.”

“There could be bad people wanting to cause damage to individuals or to some of our world leaders,” Khan told The Associated Press. “So we are working incredibly hard — the police, the security services and many, many others — to make sure this state funeral is as successful as it can be.”

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the “hugely complex” policing operation is the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics.

More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty Monday, with London bobbies supplemented by reinforcements from all of Britain’s 43 police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces will also act as stewards along the processional route.

They are just the most visible part of a security operation that is being run from a high-tech control center near Lambeth Bridge, not far from Parliament.

Street drains and garbage bins are being searched and sealed. On Monday there will be police spotters on rooftops, sniffer dogs on the streets, marine officers on the River Thames and mounted police on horseback.

Flying drones over central London has been temporarily banned, and Heathrow Airport is grounding scores of flights so that aircraft noise does not disturb the funeral service.

Authorities face the challenge of keeping 500 world leaders safe, without ruffling too many diplomatic feathers. Presidents, prime ministers and royalty will gather offsite before being taken by bus to the abbey — though an exception is being made for U.S. President Joe Biden, who is expected to arrive in his armored limousine, known as The Beast.

Another challenge is the sheer size of the crowds expected to gather around Westminster Abbey and along the route the coffin will travel after the funeral, past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park. From there it will be taken by hearse about 20 miles (32 kilometers) to Windsor, where another 2,000 police officers will be on duty.

The queen is due to be interred in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99.

Police are deploying more than 22 miles (36 kilometers) of barriers in central London to control the crowds, and transit bosses are preparing for jam-packed stations, buses and subway trains as 1 million people flood the ceremonial heart of London. Subways will run later than normal and train companies are adding extra services to help get people home.

While many will be mourning the queen, support for the monarchy is far from universal. Police have already drawn criticism for arresting several people who staged peaceful protests during events related to the queen’s death and the accession of King Charles III.

Cundy said it had been made clear to officers that “people have a right to protest.”

“Our response here in London will be proportionate, it will be balanced, and officers will only be taking action where it is absolutely necessary,” he said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said the goal was to keep the event safe, “and try to do it in as unobtrusive a way as possible, because this is obviously a solemn occasion.”

Dean of Westminster David Hoyle, who will conduct the funeral service in the 900-year-old abbey, said preparations were going smoothly — despite the occasional security-related glitch.

“There was a wonderful moment when I had flower arrangers waiting in the abbey, and no flowers, because, quite properly, the police didn’t recognize what the van was and the flowers were sent back,” he said.


Follow AP coverage of Queen Elizabeth II at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

4 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

5 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

7 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

7 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

8 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

8 days ago

Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is huge security challenge