Funeral of Queen Elizabeth: Austria's President Condolences British Royal Couple

More+Events ♦ Published: September 19, 2022; 19:12 ♦ (Vindobona)

Following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Austria's Federal President flew to Great Britain this weekend to personally express his condolences to the Royal Family. In addition to his presence at the reception on Sunday evening, he also attended the official state funeral on Monday and signed the various Queen's book of condolence.

Alexander Van der Bellen at Queen Elizabeth II's book of condolence. / Picture: © Österreichische Präsidentschaftskanzlei

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II shocked many people around the globe. Austria's Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen travelled to Great Britain to personally condole with the remaining family around King Charles III and the Kings's wife Camilla. He expressed his deepest condolences to the Royal Family, signed the Queen's book of condolence and attended the official funeral.

At the state reception at Buckingham Palace on Sunday, the eve of the state funeral for the Queen, the Federal President exchanged views with the royal couple and other heads of state, a spokeswoman told APA. At 10 p.m. Van der Bellen was at the public funeral.

Still on Sunday evening, Charles expressed his gratitude for the great sympathy after the death of his mother. "My wife and I have been deeply touched by the many messages of condolence and support we have received from across the country and around the world over the past ten days," the monarch said, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.

Since the day the Queen died at the age of 96, her coffin has been kept in the British Parliament. Many thousands of people took the opportunity to say goodbye and pay their last respects to the ever-popular monarch.

Pictures of kilometre-long queues circulated in the media in the last few days, proving the incredible amount of respect that the British population had for their Queen. Hundreds of heads of state and government as well as monarchs and other dignitaries were expected to attend the funeral service in Westminster Abbey today, Monday.

Austria's President already had the opportunity to meet the then heir to the throne, King Charles III, several years ago during his visit to Vienna in 2017.

At the time, Charles travelled to the federal capital with his wife Camilla for an official visit. At the time, the main topics of discussion were climate change and sustainability. According to the presidential chancellery, Van der Bellen spoke with his German and Bulgarian counterparts Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Rumen Radev at the reception on Sunday.

Van der Bellen also signed the book of condolence for Queen Elizabeth II and expressed his deepest regret with the words: "On behalf of the people of the Republic of Austria and myself, I convey our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy. Her Majesty The Queen may not be with us any longer, but her memory will continue to inspire us".

After attending the funeral service for the late British Queen Elizabeth II in London on Monday, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen paid tribute to the Queen's role as an "anchor of stability and continuity".

"Her sense of duty never left the Queen at any minute of her life," Van der Bellen said, according to his spokesperson in London. The President praised her successor Charles as a determined fighter against the climate crisis.

The new king will "not have it easy at the beginning, because of course he has to be different and will be different", Van der Bellen told ORF, but "the king will certainly prove himself". He praised the environmental and climate policy commitment of the long-time heir to the British throne.

Monday's state ceremony in London was both about saying goodbye to Elizabeth II as a person and about an end of an era, Van der Bellen said. "The Queen has embodied continuity in a friendly, always calm, polite and incredibly winning and sympathetic way," the President said.

In the 70 years of her reign, he said, so much had happened, especially for the United Kingdom, "the departure from the world empire to, how shall I say, it's a big island, but still it's part of the European world". And the Queen has been "a constant" in these decades, who has now passed away. It was therefore a "matter close to his heart" to pay his last respects to the Queen as Head of State on behalf of the Austrians.

Presidential Chancellery of Austria