Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is no longer expected to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday, contrary to Britain’s earlier expectations that he would, amid backlash at his visit to the UK.
A source said the change had been made by Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported. This comes after human rights groups have criticised the decision to invite the Crown Prince to the funeral, who has been accused by Western intelligence of ordering the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of Khashoggi has also condemned the controversial invitation. She insisted that his presence at Her Majesty’s state funeral would ‘stain her memory’, amid reports that the de facto ruler, known as MBS, is trying to ‘whitewash’ his human rights record.
Saudi Arabia is expected to be represented instead by Prince Turki bin Mohammed al Saud. Prince Turki is a minister of state and has been a member of the cabinet since 2018. He is the grandson of late King Fahd and part of the new generation that has been brought to power by Prince Mohammed.
Britain has invited heads of state from its allies to attend, but it is up to those nations who to send. Approximately 2,000 people are expected to attend the Queen’s service on Monday, including world leaders and members of other royal families. The televised funeral is expected to be watched by 4.1billion people.