World leaders who are expected to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral will be bussed in en masse, according to a report, which was followed by a statement by the British government that said travel plans for foreign heads and their spouses "will vary," by country.
"Arrangements for different leaders will vary depending on things like security risks, so we are providing guidance and information through embassies," Prime Minister Liz Truss's spokesperson told reporters on Monday.
The statement followed news website Politico reporting that attendees have been told to take commercial flights and escorted private buses to reach the Sept. 19 service at London's Westminster Abbey.
As well as being told not to use their own vehicles to reach the country's first state funeral in nearly six decades, they have also been advised against traveling over London by helicopter, the website said.
Instead, they will be transported by buses to the abbey from a site in west London, Politico reported, citing an official protocol message sent to foreign embassies.
"Tight security and road restrictions" were cited as the reasons, but the purported stipulations have raised eyebrows, with one London-based foreign ambassador telling the website: "Can you imagine Joe Biden on the bus?"
Asked about the report and U.S. President Biden's plans, the prime minister's spokesperson added: "That would be a question for the U.S. and how they prefer the president to travel and I think that's fairly well documented."
U.S. presidents travel long-distance on Air Force One – typically one of two customized Boeing 747 planes – and then use their Marine One helicopter and an armored limousine dubbed "The Beast" to get around.
Around 500 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the landmark event, as officials mount "a huge-scale operation," a source at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"The logistics have been meticulously planned to try to make it as smooth as possible for those attending," the source added.
The state funeral, the first since that of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965, will be one of the biggest security and logistical operations Britain has ever staged.
Thousands of police officers from across the country will be redeployed to London to help manage the huge crowds expected.
As well as world leaders and royals, up to a million people are expected to descend on the streets of the capital during the four-day period leading up to the funeral, when the queen's coffin will lie in state at Parliament.
Visiting global leaders can attend the lying-in-state and sign a condolence book at Lancaster House immediately afterward, according to the leaked document quoted by Politico.
They will also be able to deliver a tribute to the late queen of up to three minutes, which will be recorded for the media, it said.
King Charles III will reportedly host a reception at Buckingham Palace for overseas leaders on the eve of the funeral.