Emperor lays flowers at graves of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip

‘They were really kind to me,’ he says.

Takeshi Okimura

Takeshi Okimura

The Japan News

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The Emperor explores St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle near London on Thursday, June 27. PHOTO: THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN

July 1, 2024

LONDON – The Emperor and Empress bid farewell to King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Buckingham Palace, concluding their official state guest events in the United Kingdom.

The Emperor offered flowers at the graves of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle to the west of London on Thursday.

Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022 and Prince Philip died in April 2021.

Although the Emperor does not customarily attend funerals of members of foreign royal families, the Emperor and Empress both attended the funeral of the queen. It was also the Emperor’s wish to visit the chapel. The Emperor offered a silent prayer as he laid wreaths on their graves.

The chapel is the burial place for many British monarchs and the spiritual home of the Order of Garter. After offering the flowers, the Emperor explored the chapel to observe the plates of the previous four Japanese emperors, who had all received the order, and the Emperor Emeritus’ banner of arms.

The Emperor subsequently spoke to reporters at his next destination, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London.

The Emperor received an invitation from Elizabeth to visit Britain four years ago. The visit was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, depriving the Emperor of the opportunity to meet the queen for the first time since his visit to Britain in 2001.

“I find it truly regretful,” the Emperor said.

When the Emperor was studying in Britain, Elizabeth would invite him to tea and garden parties at Buckingham Palace. He also visited the queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where the queen often spent holidays.

“The queen and Prince Philip were really kind to me. I visited their graves to express my heartfelt thanks to them,” the Emperor said.

Asked about the banquet hosted by Charles and Camilla on Tuesday, the Emperor said, “I am truly grateful to King Charles for giving such a heartwarming speech.”

The Emperor also had opportunities to renew his friendship with some other members of the British Royal family, including Prince William and Prince Edward, which he said made him very happy.

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