Mother stabbed 24 times joins Maori king and celebs at Queen's funeral

Unsung heroes and special guests from UK and Commonwealth who will mix with dignitaries at Queen’s funeral: List includes Maori king, an Olympic swimmer, woman who rescued snorkeller from shark, knife crime campaigner and even Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh

  • VIPs from across the Commonwealth are flying to London for Monday’s funeral 
  • Among them include military heroes decorated for bravery in Afghanistan 
  • Dozens of NHS heroes and pandemic volunteers will also join the ceremony 
  • More than a million people are expected to watch the Queen’s final journey  
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

A Maori king from New Zealand, Killing Eve star Sandra Oh and a Birmingham mum almost stabbed to death by her ex-lover are among those set to attend the Queen’s State Funeral next week. 

More than a million people are expected to pack into London to witness the historic spectacle, which is expected to become the most-watched televised event in history, being viewed by as many as 4billion people. 

The royal King Kiingi Tuheitia, 67, is among the VIPs flying in to attend Her Majesty’s send-off on Monday, where he will join world leaders and unsung heroes from across the Commonwealth.

Joining him will be Canadian actress Sandra Oh, best known for her starring role in the BBC hit series Killing Eve, who will join in a procession of national honours as part of Monday’s ceremony. 

The 51-year-old will join a delegation as a member of the Order of Canada alongside musician Gregory Charles and Olympic gold medallist swimmer Mark Tewksbury.

Also rubbing shoulders with world leaders at the service in London’s Westminster Abbey will be courageous mother and knife crime campaigner, Natalie Queiroz, from Birmingham. 

Maori King Kiingi Tuheitia is among the guests invited from across the Commonwealth to witness the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday 

Brave Birmingham mother Natalie Queiroz, pictured left, will be rubbing shoulders with world leaders and celebrities at the Queen’s funeral, including Killing Eve actress Sandra Oh. Natalie was invited to the sovereign’s send-off for her work tackling knife crime. 

The mum-of-three was made an MBE for her tireless work teaching children about the dangers of knife crime. 

It was a mission inspired by her own nightmare ordeal in 2016, which saw her being attacked by her former partner Babur Karamat Raja in a frenzied and bloody assault. 

Natalie was eight months pregnant at the time when Raja plunged a 12-inch carving knife into her chest and stomach during a relentless nine-minute attack. 

Miraculously Natalie and her daughter, now six, survived the terrifying assault. Raja was later jailed for 18 years for attempted murder and attempted child destruction.

Also on the guest list include some of the Commonwealth’s most decorated military heroes, who have all received either the Victoria Cross or George Cross for bravery.  

The VC and GC Association said 17 of the 23 recipients of the accolades will be in attendance at the service on Monday, including one from New Zealand and four from Australia.

Seven will be involved in the Procession of the Orders of Chivalry, including Colour Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC, who was awarded Britain’s highest military honour for twice saving colleagues while under fire in Iraq.

Colour Sergeant Johnson Beharry was awarded Britain’s highest honour for bravery, the Victoria Cross, and will be among a group of more than two dozen celebrated Commonwealth veterans at the funeral

The Victoria Cross is the highest decoration of military valour in the British honours system, while the George Cross is the highest civilian gallantry award.

C/Sgt Beharry, 43, of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, said: ‘I am deeply saddened at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

‘She was an extraordinary role model and an inspiration to many. In every engagement that I have had with her she showed great compassion, humility and pure warmth.

‘Pinning upon me the Victoria Cross is among the fondest memories that I will hold very closely to my heart.

‘I feel very humble and honoured and indeed fortunate to be included in her funeral procession.’

Those representing the George Cross are Jim Beaton GC CVO, Tony Gledhill GC and Major Peter Norton GC.

Major Norton, 59, chairman of the VC and GC Association, said: ‘In January 1983 I swore an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors; almost 40 years later, over 30 of which have been spent in uniform, I hold that allegiance still to be true.

‘For me, Queen Elizabeth II was the boss and I enjoyed every single year in her service.

‘Being awarded the George Cross by her was the greatest of honours and it was subsequently a privilege and joy to have met her on so many occasions.’

King Charles III (furthest left) will symbolically lead the final ceremony honouring the late Queen Elizabeth II, and will be joined by his siblings, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex who will all play central roles in the historic ‘Vigil of the Princes’

King Charles III, Anne, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward each stood on one of the four corners of the coffin in a ceremony known as the ‘Vigil of the Princes’ as the Queen lay in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, earlier this week

He was awarded the George Cross in 2006 after checking for an improvised explosive device (IED) near Baghdad the year before, leading to the loss of his left leg, severe injuries to his right leg, abdomen, back and left arm.

Mr Beaton, 79, was awarded the George Cross for helping to foil a gunman’s attempted kidnap of Princess Anne in 1974, and he was shot three times protecting the Queen’s daughter.

He said: ‘It was a privilege to work for Her Majesty. I have many very fond memories.’

Mr Gledhill, 84, is a former police officer who was awarded the George Cross in May 1967 for an act of bravery for pursuing a recklessly driven car.

He told the PA news agency: ‘I’m a real royalist so it will be an honour to be involved in the procession, we have rehearsals and various other things in the next few days.

‘It’s something I’ll be very proud of.’

Corporal Bill (Willie) Apiata VC, 50 – pictured –  will be representing the Victoria Cross for New Zealand, and will be walking alongside Mark Donaldson VC, 43, from Australia in the procession.

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest reigning monarch who was on the throne for 70 years, died at the age of 96, Buckingham Palace announced at 6.30pm on Thursday 

Meanwhile, Corporal Bill (Willie) Apiata VC, 50, will be representing the Victoria Cross for New Zealand, and will be walking alongside Mark Donaldson VC, 43, from Australia in the procession.

Bill became New Zealand’s first recipient of the VC since the Second World War after risking his life in a daring bid to save a critically-injured comrade in Afghanistan, in 2004.

The special forces hero was part of an SAS troop on patrol when they were ambushed by 20 enemy soldiers, who blasted the team with machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades.   

Under withering fire, Bill put his own life on the line to pick up his fallen comrade, who was spurting blood from an arterial bleed and in danger of dying. 

Courageous Bill heaved his fellow trooper onto his shoulder and carried him 230ft across open ground, under intense enemy fire, with his citation saying: ‘That neither he nor his colleague were hit is scarcely possible.’ 

Also part of the delegation from New Zealand is Jacinda Amey who received a bravery award for her efforts in saving the life of a snorkeller who was attacked by a shark.

The nightmarish mauling took place in April 1992 in sub-Antarctic waters off remote Campbell Island.

The 23-year-old Jacinda had been snorkelling with other members of a Meteorological Service team on Campbell Island, 600km south of Invercargill, when a 13ft white pointer shark attacked and ripped off the right arm of fellow swimmer Mike Fraser at the elbow. 

Buckingham Palace has also invited Australian Victoria Cross winner, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, along with the three other recipients of Australia’s pre-eminent military honour, Keith Payne, 89, Mark Donaldson and Daniel Keighran.

Chris Waller, a horse trainer who looked after many of the Queen’s horses said he was ‘humbled’ to be invited.

As the other swimmers turned to shore, Jacinda Amey stayed transfixed in horror, watching her colleague punching the shark on the nose, hitting it with the stump of his arm and his smashed left hand.

Risking her own life, she managed to tow him to shore, while the shark prowled nearby. She was later awarded the New Zealand Cross, the highest bravery award the country offers to civilians. 

Buckingham Palace has also invited Australian Victoria Cross winner, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith,  along with the three other recipients of Australia’s pre-eminent military honour, Keith Payne, 89, Mark Donaldson and Daniel Keighran.

Mr Roberts-Smith was awarded his VC for his actions during the 2010 battle of Tizak in southern Afghanistan.

Hour-by-hour guide to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, September 19 

6am-8.30am: Last vigil at Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall 

At dawn on the last day of national mourning, the King’s bodyguards will begin their final vigil at the Queen’s oak coffin in the Houses of Parliament. It will then close at 8.30am in preparation for the procession.

9am: Big Ben will strike

Big Ben will strike clearly, before the bell’s hammer is covered with a thick leather pad to muffle its strikes for the rest of the day, out of respect and deference to the late monarch.

10.30am: Queen’s coffin is carried from House of Parliament to Westminster Abbey

The Queen’s coffin will be moved onto the state gun carriage which will be outside the north door of Westminster Hall.

From there, it will be pulled by naval ratings using ropes instead of horses from the Hall to Westminster Abbey.

Enormous crowds of mourners are expected to line the streets in Westminster as King Charles and senior members of the Royal Family follow the coffin as they did at the funeral for Princess Diana and for Prince Philip. The military will also join the procession. 

The coffin arrives at 10.52am before being carried into the Abbey. 

11am: The Queen’s coffin is carried to the High Altar

Around 2,000 guests including members of the Royal Family, Prime Minister Liz Truss, former British premiers, foreign dignitaries including US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and possibly Japanese Emperor Naruhito, and other VIPs, will fill the Abbey and watch as the Queen’s coffin is moved down the nave to the High Altar, before the nation falls silent.

11am-12pm: The state funeral at the Abbey

The state funeral will be led by the Dean of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

It is being televised and is expected to be beamed to millions around the world – and could well be one of the most watched live events in human history. 

Royal experts believe that the choice of the Abbey could be both because it is so big – it has a capacity of 2,000 though can hold as many as 8,000 – and more live TV broadcasts have already been held there.

It is also believed that it could be a better place for large crowds to gather to pay their respects, since it is in Central London.

And the Abbey was the setting for many of the most important events of the Queen’s life – from her Coronation to her wedding to Prince Philip. The Princess Royal and the Duke of York, and the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, were also married there.

Other royal funerals have been held at the Abbey, including Princess Diana’s in 1997 and the Queen Mother’s in 2002. The funeral of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Philip’s uncle, was also held there in 1979.

At the end of the service, the Last Post and Reveille will be played. There will also be a national two-minute silence.

12pm-1pm: Queen’s coffin is carried to Wellington Arch via The Mall

The Queen’s coffin will then be placed back on the state gun carriage, before the royal funeral procession will solemnly move through Parliament Square, Whitehall, Constitution Hill and The Mall, past Buckingham Palace, to arrive at Wellington Arch at 1pm.

1pm-4pm: The coffin is transported to Windsor

Then the coffin will be transported to Windsor, where the Queen spent much of the last years of her life, to her final resting place at St George’s Chapel via the Long Walk, arriving at 3.15pm.

4pm: Queen will be buried at St George’s Chapel by her husband Prince Philip

The committal service conducted by the Dean of Windsor will then begin, and will also be televised around the world.

Before the last hymn, the Imperial State Crown, sceptre and orb will be removed from the Queen’s coffin by the crown jeweller. 

Then at the end of the service, a lament will be played by a lone piper as the coffin is lowered into the Royal Vault, where she will be buried alongside her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her beloved parents, and her sister Margaret.

7pm: King Charles will attend private family burial service at chapel

King Charles and his closest family will return to the chapel for a private family burial service, where – as the late Queen did for her father – the monarch will scatter earth upon the coffin. 


Speaking of his invite to the Queen’s funeral, the Aussie hero said it was a ‘great honour to be able to be there for this sad occasion’.

‘I have a very deep respect for Her Majesty and everything that she has sacrificed in her life and what she has achieved,’ he told The West Australian . ‘She has been a magnificent monarch, she has been a stoic leader, and importantly she was also a lovely lady.’

The others attending the funeral are Matt Croucher GC, Corporal Dan Keighran VC, Dom Troulan GC QGM, Kevin Haberfield GC, Kim Hughes GC, Captain Sam Shephard GC, Chris Finney GC, Corporal Josh Leakey VC and Keith Payne VC.

Among the other guests invited from the Australian delegation includes Chris Waller, a horse trainer who looked after many of the Queen’s horses. 

The Sydney-based trainer, 49, was in regular contact with Her Majesty – who was renowned as a keen horse racer. 

Waller told Sky News: ‘It is a huge honour, overwhelming [to go the funeral]. I’ve been inundated with messages and well wishes.

‘It’s just a very humbling experience that’s about to take place, all for an amazing lady I had the pleasure of meeting a few times and chatting to on the phone.

‘She could relate to every single person in the world.

‘It’s a very sad moment but we’re all in awe of what she’s done for everybody and the leader she’s been.’

Invites have also been sent out to the great and good of the UK, who will join world leaders inside Westminster Abbey. 

Among them is Robert Lodge, a veteran who was made an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours. 

The pensioner, of Weeley Heath in Essex, was blown away to receive an invite to the monarch’s funeral – an honour which he said sparked ‘a special feeling’.

The 71-year-old retired soldier said a ‘lady from the Cabinet Office rang me and explained that they wanted some recent recipients of the MBE to attend’.

‘In an instant the answer was yes, of course,” the Robert added. ‘That’s a special feeling to get that invite.’

Mr Lodge, who joined the Army as an 18-year-old gunner and rose to the rank of Captain in 27 years of service, was honoured for his work with the Red Cypher charity.

The charity supports past and present members of 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and is so named because ‘our cap badge is a royal cypher with a red backing’, Mr Lodge said.

Mr Lodge met the Queen in Germany in 1984 when she visited a gunner parade in Dortmund.

‘She was friendly, straight-talking as everyone knows her to be and a wonderful person,’ he said.

‘When I joined the Army in 1969 as an 18-year-old, you swear allegiance to the Queen or the Crown and her successors, and when you do that you start to understand what it is you’re getting involved in.

‘The Queen was our captain general and King Charles will be our captain general on and on.’

Mr Lodge said he was ‘very sad’ when he learned about the Queen’s death.

‘When I was invited to the funeral, it’s a duty and I feel privileged, and, “Why me?”, but absolutely blown away with the fact I’ve been invited,” he said.

Speaking of his invite to the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning, the former Army officer added: ‘It’s an honour and a privilege. I just feel very humbled.’

Joining Mr Lodge will be father-of-two Pranav Bhanot, who was among the army of pandemic heroes supporting the needy during the height of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The charitable father-of-two, of Chigwell in Essex, helped deliver 1,200 free meals and was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his efforts.

The lawyer, 34, also gave ‘free pro-bono advice for people who had cancelled weddings, couldn’t get deposits back, people who lost their jobs because they got made redundant’, he said.

Mr Bhanot, a councillor on Chigwell Parish Council, was told of his invite to the funeral last Saturday afternoon when he was called by a private number ‘while trying to put my little two-year-old to sleep’.

‘I don’t normally answer private numbers but I did on this occasion,’ he said.

‘It was from the Cabinet Office and they invited me to the state funeral.

‘I didn’t believe it, to be quite honest with you.

‘I still don’t really believe it as the invite hasn’t actually come in yet.

‘But very grateful.

‘I feel completely out of place because all the headlines are saying there are going to be world leaders and presidents but it will give me a really nice opportunity to pay my respects to someone I hugely admired.’

He said he has received few details to date, other than to ‘wear a dark suit, which I went out to buy yesterday lunchtime’.

Mr Bhanot helped set up a support group to try to ‘get food and prescriptions to those that were self-isolating and couldn’t leave their properties’ during Covid-19.

He said that when he learned he was to be made an MBE he ‘didn’t think I deserved it to be honest’.

‘I was very taken aback, very grateful,’ he said. ‘It was the last thing I ever expected.

‘It’s a huge honour.’

In all, 183 volunteers from across the UK are being invited to the sovereign’s funeral – with many of them having provided a lifeline to people during the pandemic.

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