Emperor, Empress to attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral

Japan's Cabinet on Friday formally approved the attendance of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako at the state funeral of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

This will be the couple's first overseas trip since the Emperor ascended the throne in 2019.

They will leave Tokyo on Saturday, attend the funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday and return to Japan the following day.

The Imperial Household Agency says Emperor Naruhito will be the second Emperor to be present at the funeral of a foreign royal or head of state. In 1993, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko attended the state funeral of Belgium's King Baudouin during their reign as Emperor and Empress.

Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign overlapped with those of three Japanese Emperors, all of whom she met on various occasions.

Aides of Emperor Naruhito say he has fond memories of spending time with the Queen during his two-year stint as a student at Oxford University beginning in 1983.

In September 1984, he was invited by the Queen and her consort, Prince Phillip, to Balmoral Castle in Scotland. During his visit, he picnicked with the British royals and enjoyed a barbecue.

Britain's King Charles III, Prince of Wales at the time, attended the main ceremony marking the Emperor's accession to the throne in 2019.