London, 19 September 2022 (TDI): The heads of the Royal Family of Japan, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attended Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday.
⚫ The State Funeral of Her Majesty The Queen at Westminster Abbey:
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 19, 2022
Earlier this month, the Royal Family of Japan expressed their condolences on the passing of the longest-reigning monarch of Britain.
Accordingly, it was informed that the King and Queen of Japan will attend Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral.
It has been formally decided that Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan will attend the State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
— Embassy of Japan UK (@JAPANinUK) September 16, 2022
The two left for Britain on a government plane on Saturday to attend the state funeral. This also marks their first trip aboard together since the Emperor ascended to the throne in 2019.
The Japanese royalty touched down at Stansted Airport near London in the afternoon. They traveled for 15 hours from Tokyo International Airport at Haneda.
The imperial couple was welcomed by officials from the British royal family at the airport. The two stayed at Claridge’s, a hotel in London.
A Glimpse at History
Japanese emperors do not traditionally attend funerals. Correspondingly, the couple’s attendance at the funeral of Britain’s monarch on Monday marks only the second time a Japanese emperor attending a funeral.
Previously, Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko, traveled to Belgium for the funeral of King Baudouin in 1993.
Moreover, Empress Masako is traveling aboard after a long-time. The empress could not attend many political events due to her stress-induced illness. Lastly, she had an overseas trip when attending the coronation of Tonga’s King Tupou VI in 2015.
Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral
The funeral of the longest-reigning monarch of Britain, Queen Elizabeth II took place at Westminster Abbey on Monday. She will be buried next to her husband, King Philip at the end of the state funeral.
The last rituals for the Quen were held after a 10-day mourning period in the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth died on 8th September 2022 which bought a shock to many people around the world.
Also Read: APAC countries mourn Queen Elizabeth II
Tens of thousands of people traveled to London and Windsor for the state funeral and burial service. Additionally, about 2000 foreign dignitaries, heads, politicians, and diplomats attended the funeral.
This included President of the US, Joe Biden as well.
The attendance of the Japanese Imperials at the funeral represents the deep bond between the British royal family and the Japanese imperial family. A rare event as such expresses the hope that the two royalties will strengthen their relations in the future.
Moreover, the Japanese monarch observed three days of mourning upon hearing of the Queen’s death. He also expressed his gratitude for the Queen’s contributions and achievements over the years.
During Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign, the British royal family and the Japanese Imperial family maintained friendly relations for three generations.
As crown prince, former Emperor Akihito attended Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation in London on behalf of Emperor Hirohito. The then emperor of Japan, Emperor Hirohito visited Britain in 1971.
Correspondingly, Queen Elizabeth visited Japan in 1975. On the other hand, Emperor Akihito made his first visit as a monarch to Britain in 1998. He also attended the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 to commemorate her 60th year on the throne.
Furthermore, the late queen extended an invitation to Emperor Naruhito after his ascension, for a state visit. Unfortunately, it could not materialize because of the COVID-19 pandemic.