Japan’s Emperor Naruhito will attend the funeral of Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II. Japanese media reported this news citing official sources.
Traditionally, Japanese emperors do not usually attend funerals held at home or abroad. This is why Emperor Naruhito’s plan is considered exceptional.
In 1993, Japan’s former Emperor Akihito attended the funeral of Belgium’s late King Bedouin. Emperor Naruhito decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. However, he later said that he will not attend the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the 27th of this month. Crown Prince Fumihito is expected to attend the ceremony instead of the emperor.
The Imperial Family of Japan has a long historical relationship with the Royal Family of Britain. Many of the Emperor’s family spent part of their student life in Britain. Emperor Naruhito also studied at Oxford University.
The Imperial Household Agency of Japan is responsible for the management of the Emperor’s household. They say the royal couple, as well as former emperor Akihito and former empress Michiko, are observing three days of mourning starting Friday for the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will be held on September 19. Naruhito will go to join there. This is Emperor Naruhito’s first foreign visit since ascending the throne in May 2019.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako’s first state visit to Britain in 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Former Emperor Akihito attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 on behalf of Emperor Hirohito when he was Crown Prince. Emperor Hirohito himself later visited Britain in 1971 and played a role in ending the bitterness between the two countries during World War II. Former Emperor Akihito, father of the current emperor, chose Britain as the destination for his first foreign visit in 1998. He later visited Britain once more in 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth’s accession.
Empress Masako of Japan has been ill for quite some time. The country’s press says that if she feels healthy, she will go on a trip to Britain with her husband.