Why Biden used a convoy for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral while Akufo-Addo, other world leaders were bussed
It became a big issue that was discussed widely by citizens of countries whose leaders had been directed to use shared buses to attend the funeral of the late British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
The funeral service for the late Queen was held at Westminster Abbey in the United Kingdom on September 19, 2022.
Numerous world leaders including leaders of Commonwealth countries like Ghana, Kenya, etc. U.S President, Joe Biden, France, Emmanuel Macron, South Korean President, Yoon Suk-Yeol among others had been invited by the new King, Charles III.
Whereas many world leaders had been invited, there was a limitation as far as protocols for attending the funeral were concerned.
A statement issued from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office confirmed this.
As part of the arrangements, the office warned foreign leaders to, if possible, arrive in the UK using commercial flights rather than private jets as Heathrow Airport will be closed to that. They were also asked to gather at a site in West London where they will be bussed to and from Westminster Abbey where the funeral was to be held.
As such, Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Kenya’s President, William Ruto, First Lady, and Tanzanian President Suluhu joined an arranged bus consequently for the event.
Details of why Biden, others were exempted:
The U.S President, Joe Biden, and some other leaders from G-7 countries including France’s Emmanuel Macron, Israel’s Isaac Herzog, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, and Emperor Naruhito of Japan were however exempted from this directive.
They could use their official vehicles and for U.S President, Joe Biden who was attending with his wife, it had been stated that he was going to arrive in his 7-tonne armoured Cadillac presidential limousine: ‘The Beast’ escorted by a convoy.
U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden paid their respects at Queen Elizabeth's lying-in-state in London’s Westminster Hall https://t.co/eXjzBBGzPd pic.twitter.com/H48DgWkXqJ
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 18, 2022
According to the UK’s Express news portal, the White House demanded that Biden travels via a six-car motorcade for “security reasons”. Their request was granted by UK officials hence the development.
The Washingtonpost reports that the U.S. presidential limousine is armored, with thicker wheels, a heavy-duty chassis, expanded space for passengers, secure encrypted communications technology and ornate interiors that can include foldout desks.
The report also noted that officials from Buckingham Palace declined to “comment on security matters” but instead referred them to the U.S to respond to any such questions.
Aside from these exemptions and families of some European Royals, all other foreign leaders were supposed to be bussed to ‘ease traffic congestion’.
Ghana 🇬🇭 has arrived at the queens funeral. #QueenElizabethIIMemorial
First lady and Prez Akufo Addo. pic.twitter.com/LAmij52qrP
— Shamima Muslim (@shamimamuslim) September 19, 2022
The development was however not received very well, especially by citizens of African countries who believed and suggested that the move by the UK was racist. Others were unhappy and expressed concerns about the security of their presidents being jeopardised.
The queen died on Thursday, September 8 at age 96.
President Ruto and other world leaders arrive in a bus at Buckingham Palace in the UK to attend a state reception in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.
📷 Courtesy pic.twitter.com/8c32cmof7Z
— K24 TV (@K24Tv) September 19, 2022
President Joe Biden has arrived at the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II https://t.co/JosSFORgVy pic.twitter.com/VW8vKlzw4T
— CNN (@CNN) September 19, 2022