World leaders going to Queen's funeral 'will have to pay to use NHS'

World leaders going to Queen's funeral 'will have to pay to use NHS'

World leaders travelling to the UK for Queen’s funeral ‘will have to pay to use the NHS’, after being urged not to fly to London via private jet or helicopter

  • Heads of state from around the world will arrive in the UK in the coming days
  • Those who come will be expected to pay for NHS treatment, should they need it
  • It comes after reports that leaders would not be allowed to use private transport 
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

World leaders will be expected to pay for NHS care if they fall ill while in the country for the Queen’s state funeral next week, it is being reported.

With thousands of people from across the world set to arrive in Britain in the coming days for the service on Monday, September 19, the NHS is being urged to charge those who use its services.

Hospitals have been warned that those attending the funeral should, like tourists and visitors from outside the European Union, be charged for using it, The Times reports.

The publication says Sir David Sloman, chief operating officer of NHS England, has said in an email to managers they should ‘ensure that those not entitled to free healthcare at the point of use are charged appropriately’.

The guidance, which does not apply to emergency care and GP appointments, should not prove problematic to leaders such as Joe Biden who have their own medical teams on hand, but might became an issue for others.

It is the latest in a list of demands that have been met with disbelief in some quarters, after British officials urged world leaders to use commercial jets and coaches to reach the funeral instead of private planes and cars.

However, some higher profile world leaders, such as US President Joe Biden have been given permission to use their own vehicles, with the US president allowed to bring ‘The Beast’ – a $1.5million Cadillac, boasts of night vision cameras, tear gas cannons, and 8 inches of armor.

World leaders will arrive in London over the coming days in preparation for the Queen’s funeral on Monday, September 19

US President Joe Biden is among the foreign heads of state who will be attending the service at Westminster Abbey

Biden has been given permission to use his presidential limousine, which is nicknamed ‘The Beast’, while in the city

Based on security concerns, several others, including President Macron of France, President Herzog of Israel and Emperor Naruhito of Japan are likely to have their own transportation.

Biden given special exemption to bring ‘The Beast’

 While many world leaders will be asked to ride shared buses in from an undisclosed location in west, there will be exceptions for the most prominent – including Biden, according to The Times.

The Beast, the U.S. president’s $1.5million Cadillac, boasts of night vision cameras, tear gas cannons, and 8 inches of armor.

Its doors weigh as much as those on a Boeing 757 aircraft and its tires are pneumatic run-flats so the vehicle can still drive even if they are deflated. The president also can use a state-of-the-art communication system that is built into the Beast, which weighs about 20,000 pounds.

There is also a secure oxygen system and a supply of the president’s own blood in case of an emergency.

The vehicle was built to withstand chemical and biological attacks as well as bullets and explosions, with its chassis said to be effectively ‘indestructible.’

Its windows are said to be 3 inches thick while the steel-and-ceramic armor is said to be 8 inches thick.

Based on security concerns, several others, including President Macron of France, President Herzog of Israel and Emperor Naruhito of Japan are likely to have their own transportation.

Anthony Albanese, prime minister of Australia, also confirmed he will take an Australian Air Force jet to the UK instead of flying commercial.

‘They’re longstanding plans for myself and the Governor-General (David Hurley) to travel to London and we’ll be doing so on Thursday night,’ Mr Albanese told the ABC.

It came after Politico published details of the arrangements from a leaked copy of the ‘protocol message’ sent to embassies between Saturday and Sunday.

Diplomats were told that only one representative of each country will be allowed to attend along with their spouse, to prevent over-crowding at the abbey.

Foreign dignitaries should arrive by commercial flight ‘where possible’, the memo added, saying London Heathrow will not be available for private flights to land.

The use of helicopter transfers between airports and venues has also been banned ‘due to the number of flights operating at this time.’

And, on the day of the funeral itself, heads of state will be asked to gather en masse in west London before boarding a coach to Westminster.

Dozens of leaders have so-far confirmed they will be attending – from Japanese Emperor Akihito to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Emmanuel Macron of France and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany.

However, none other than Mr Albanese have openly discussed travel arrangements.

US presidents travel long-distance on Air Force One – typically one of two customised Boeing 747 planes.

They then use their Marine One helicopter and an armoured limousine dubbed ‘The Beast’ to get around within any given country.

The FCDO and US Embassy in London did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The state funeral, the first since former prime minister Winston Churchill in 1965, will be one of the biggest security and logistical operations the UK has ever staged.

Thousands of police officers from across the country will be redeployed to London to help manage the huge crowds expected.

As well as world leaders and royals, up to a million people are expected to descend on the streets of capital during the four-day period leading up to the funeral, when the queen’s coffin will lie in state at parliament.

Visiting global leaders will be able to attend the lying-in-state and sign a condolence book at Lancaster House immediately afterwards, according to the leaked Foreign Office dispatch report.

Anthony Albanese, the prime minister of Australia, will also be attending the service next week

Some less high profile world leaders who have been invited to Her Majesty’s funeral are set to be bussed in for the service from West London

They will also be able to deliver a tribute to the late queen lasting up to three minutes, which will be recorded for the media, it said.

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

On the day itself, the visiting dignitaries will arrive at Westminster Abbey in escorted coaches from a site in west London where they will have parked.

‘Tight security and road restrictions’ were cited as the reasons for the unusual requirements for foreign VIPs.

The guest list has not yet been finalized, but despite the war with Ukraine, Russia is expected to be represented by its ambassador and North Korea is also expected to be represented, according to The Times.

The funeral takes place Monday at Westminister Abbey. King Charles III is expected to host world leaders for a reception at Buckingham Palace the night before the service. 

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