Emperor, Empress leave for Britain to attend Queen Elizabeth's state funeral

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have left for Britain to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

The plane carrying the Emperor and the Empress took off from Tokyo's Haneda Airport shortly after 11:20 a.m. on Saturday.

The couple left the Imperial Palace earlier in the day, with their daughter Princess Aiko seeing them off.

The couple was greeted at the airport by Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino and Upper House President Otsuji Hidehisa, as well as the British Ambassador to Japan.

The plane is scheduled to land at Stansted Airport, near London, on Saturday afternoon.

The couple will attend the state funeral, which will take place at Westminster Abbey in central London on Monday.

They will leave Britain later in the day and return to Japan on Tuesday.

This will be the couple's first overseas trip since the Emperor ascended the throne in 2019. It is also the first overseas trip for Empress Masako since 2015, when the couple visited Tonga while they were Crown Prince and Princess.

During the Emperor's absence, Crown Prince Akishino will serve as a temporary agent to conduct state affairs, for the first time ever.