Thousands of fans are attending a farewell procession for Muhammad Ali in his home city of Louisville, Kentucky.
Onlookers lining the roadside waved, took photos and chanted “Ali, Ali” as a cortege led by the hearse carrying his coffin drove through the downtown area.
The boxing legend and rights activist died on June 3 at the age of 74.
The cortege is taking Muhammad Ali’s body past key sites in his life, ahead of an interfaith memorial service.
Will Smith and ex-boxer Lennox Lewis will be among the pallbearers, while former President Bill Clinton will deliver one of the eulogies.
Thousands of free tickets for the memorial service, taking place at a major sports centre, were snapped up within half an hour.
The motorcade procession began at about 10:35 local time, more than an hour behind schedule, and is taking the coffin past his childhood home, the Ali Center, the Center for African American Heritage and then down Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
Fans threw flowers at the hearse and rose petals were scattered along the route.
The procession, expected to take about 90 minutes, will end at the Cave Hill Cemetery where Muhammad Ali will be laid to rest in a private ceremony.
The funeral service at the KFC Yum! Center is due to begin at 14:00 local time.
Billy Crystal will also deliver a eulogy, while sports journalist Bryant Gumbel, the daughter of civil rights activist Malcolm X, Attallah Shabazz, and Muhammad Ali’s wife, Lonnie, and daughters, Maryum and Rasheda, are also expected to speak.
Among those expected to attend the service is King Abdullah of Jordan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended June 9 prayer ceremony and had been due at the service, but reports say he has cut short his visit to the US.
The reasons for his departure are not clear, though there are reports of differences with the funeral’s organizers.
President Barack Obama will not be there, as he is to attend his eldest daughter Malia’s graduation.
In a video message, Barack Obama said: “This week we lost an icon. A person who for African Americans, I think, liberated their minds in recognizing that they could be proud of who they were.”
TfL also has announced that “it is anticipated that other routes will need to be curtailed or diverted”.
Will tube stations be closed during the funeral procession?
No, they’ll all be open as usual, including Westminster and St. Paul’s.
What time will the closures take place?
Restrictions come into effect around 6 a.m. The service at St Paul’s Cathedral will start at 11 a.m., so the procession should take place in the two hours before that. Travel restrictions should be lifted well before the evening rush hour.
Former British PM Margaret Thatcher will be given a funeral ceremony with full military honors before a private cremation on Wednesday, April 17.
Officials and politicians from around the world will be in London to pay their last respects to Britain’s first female prime minister.
Margaret Thatcher died at Ritz Hotel in London on Monday, April 8, after suffering a massive stroke at the age of 87.
The former prime minister will be honored with a ceremonial service with full military honors, with politicians, former world leaders and cultural figures in the congregation.
Although not officially a state funeral, in accordance with Margaret Thatcher’s wishes when making her funeral plans, the announcement of the lavish state-funded ceremony has brought a fierce backlash.
The ceremony will take place on Wednesday April 17, with the service due to start at 11 a.m.
The service is being held at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, at Margaret Thatcher’s request. Attendance is by invitation only. It will be followed by a private cremation in Mortlake, south west London.
A funeral procession will travel through the streets of London, first in a hearse and then on a gun carriage, from the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster to the cathedral just under two miles away, with members of the armed services lining the route.
Margaret Thatcher’s coffin will be taken by a hearse from the Palace of Westminster to the RAF Chapel, the church of St Clement Danes, in the Strand.
From there the coffin will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Artillery.
The impressive cortege will then proceed down the Strand, through Aldwych, then along the entire length of Fleet Street before rising up Ludgate Hill to the majestic St Paul’s Cathedral.
Margaret Thatcher will be given a funeral ceremony with full military honors before a private cremation on April 17
Will Margaret Thatcher’s funeral be broadcasted?
BBC1 will be showing live coverage from 9.15 a.m. to 12.15 p.m.
Who will be at St Paul’s Cathedral?
According to Downing Street, 2,000 invitations are being sent out, with guests including former prime ministers, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Lord Archer and Jeremy Clarkson.
Margaret Thatcher’s children, Carol and Mark, will lead the mourners.
Queen Elizabeth II will attend, accompanied by Prince Philip. It is the first time the Queen has attended the funeral of one of her former Prime Ministers since Sir Winston Churchill’s state funeral in 1965.
Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and top British politicians will be invited. Former PMs Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and their wives Cherie and Sarah have confirmed they will be attending, as has Margaret Thatcher’s successor in No. 10 Sir John Major.
Singers Dame Shirley Bassey and Katherine Jenkins, actor Michael Crawford, composer Lord Lloyd-Webber and lyricist Tim Rice are also due to attend the service.
Others on the guest list include Joan Collins, broadcasters Sir Terry Wogan, Sir Trevor McDonald and Sir David Frost, fashion designer Anya Hindmarch and sitcom queen June Whitfield.
Frederik Willem de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa, will also be there as a guest of the family.
However, Neil Kinnock, the Labour leader defeated by Lady Thatcher at the 1987 election, has said he will not be attending.
Ten members of staff from the Ritz Hotel, where Margaret Thatcher died on Monday, have also been invited to her funeral as thanks for the care she received. She had been staying at the five-star hotel since Christmas.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has announced he will not attend the ceremony due to health problems. Former US First Lady Nancy Reagan, whose husband Ronald worked closely with Margaret Thatcher as the Cold War drew to an end, said she was “heartbroken” over Lady Thatcher’ death but could not attend due to her age.
How much is Margaret Thatcher’s funeral going to cost and who is going to pay?
The funeral is expected to cost up to £10 million (about $16 million) with the taxpayer bearing the brunt of the costs. It has been confirmed a “contribution” to the cost of the funeral will be made from Margaret Thatcher’s estate. The official cost to the public purse will be released after the service has taken place.
The security operation alone is set to cost £5 million ($8 million). Police across London have been ordered to cancel any leave they had planned for Operation True Blue on Wednesday.
There could be more than 4,000 officers and 2,000 troops lining the route. Hundreds of specialist police will be working on counter-terrorism measures, with others carefully monitoring CCTV cameras for trouble spots.
Every corner of the route will be checked by sniffer dogs, with sewers and drains closed.
Military personnel from the RAF, Navy and Army will line the route from Westminster to St Paul’s. Margaret Thatcher’s coffin will travel part of the way by hearse before being transferred to a gun carriage at the Church of St Clement Danes, the RAF Chapel, on the Strand. The gun carriage will be drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. Six horses will draw the carriage, three of them mounted, with a sergeant riding alongside, an officer riding in front and three dismounted troops on foot.
Margaret Thatcher’s funeral ceremony will have a Falklands theme.
A Bearer Party made up of all three services will walk alongside the coffin, and will include those from ships, units and stations notable for their service during the Falklands Campaign. Members will be taken from the Royal Navy/Royal Marines; the Scots Guards; the Welsh Guards; the Royal Artillery; the Royal Engineers; the Parachute Regiment; the Royal Gurkha Rifles; and the RAF.
Three military bands will play – their drums draped in black as a mark of respect.
A guard of Chelsea Pensioners, dressed in their traditional red tunics, will line the steps of St Paul’s as her coffin is carried in by bearers from units particularly associated with the Falklands War.
More than 700 Armed Forces personnel drawn from all three services will take part. Members of the Welsh Guards, the regiment that suffered some of the heaviest losses during the Falklands conflict, will be among the units involved, taking on roles including the coffin bearer party, lining the route the procession will take, and forming a Guard of Honour outside St Paul’s.
Guns will be fired from the Tower of London but there will be no fly-past – as Margaret Thatcher herself requested.
How will Margaret Thatcher’s funeral affect travel in London?
Motorists are being advised to avoid Westminster and the City of London on the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday, April 17.
On the same day a number of roads will be closed and some bus services will be diverted, Transport for London (TfL) said.
Blackfriars and Westminster bridges will be closed and some Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations will be suspended. But all Tube, London Overground and Docklands Light Railway services will run normally.
The bus diversions will begin from 6 a.m. and the road closures from around 7 a.m. Among roads that will be closed will be The Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, Whitehall, Kingsway and The Mall.
What’s the dress code at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral?
Guests at the funeral will be asked to wear full day ceremonial dress without swords, morning dress with a black waistcoat and black tie or dark suit, day dress with hat. Medals and decorations may be worn.
What are the invitations like?
Invitations have been sent out on Friday, April 12. The white VIP invitations will see guests seated under the Cathedral’s famous dome. A red or green stripe will show whether they are to sit on the port or starboard side. Other invitations are color-coded relating to where guests are to be seated in the cathedral.
Margaret Thatcher’s funeral – more details
Flags will be flown at half mast on UK government buildings and British embassies from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the day of the funeral.
The working title for the funeral’s operation plan is True Blue – which has drawn criticism from Labour’s Andy Burnham for politicising the event.
Margaret Thatcher requested there should not be a fly-past as she considered it a waste of money.
Baroness Thatcher’s family has asked that if people wish to pay their respects, they consider making a donation to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, rather than laying flowers.
Margaret Thatcher’s love of Edward Elgar’s classical music – especially Pomp and Circumstance – is expected to be reflected in the service.
Downing Street website will have a condolence page on which people will be able to write private messages for the Thatcher family.
The public will be unable to attend Margaret Thatcher’s funeral service itself but can line the route of the funeral procession from the RAF Church in the Strand to St Paul’s Cathedral.
A military rehearsal of former British PM Margaret Thatcher’s funeral procession has taken place in central London.
More than 700 members of the armed forces drawn from all three services took part in the practice before dawn.
They will line the route of the funeral procession from Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday.
Margaret Thatcher’s coffin is to be carried in a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, which was involved in the rehearsal.
Major Andrew Chatburn, the man in charge of choreographing the parade, said the rehearsal “went very well” and it was “vitally important” to stage a trial of Wednesday’s event.
“Timings are most important,” he said.
Military rehearsal of former PM Margaret Thatcher’s funeral procession in central London
Maj. Andrew Chatburn, ceremonial staff officer for the Household Division, who was also behind the royal wedding procession two years ago and last year’s Diamond Jubilee parade, added: “Bearing in mind these are sailors, soldiers and airmen who have come in to do this specific task from their routine duties, so it’s new to them.
“They need to see the ground as well so they can get a feel for how it’s going to go and they can perform their duties with confidence on the day.”
The procession band played the funeral marches of Chopin, Beethoven and Mendelssohn as it made its way along the deserted streets for the rehearsal.
The Chelsea Pensioners from Royal Hospital Chelsea did not take part due to the early start, but they will line the west steps of St Paul’s for the real event.
It has emerged that the last portrait of Margaret Thatcher shows her relaxing on a deckchair in the garden of London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement and nursing home for ex-British soldiers. Lady Thatcher was a strong supporter of the Chelsea Pensioners.
Scotland Yard’s preparations are ongoing and the force says the security operation on the day will be in line with the perceived threat level.
Margaret Thatcher, who died at the age of 87 on April 8, has been awarded a ceremonial funeral with military honors, one step down from a state funeral.
On Wednesday, Margaret Thatcher’s coffin will initially travel by hearse from the Palace of Westminster to the Church of St Clement Danes – the Central Church of the RAF – on the Strand.
The coffin will then be transferred to the gun carriage and taken in procession to St Paul’s Cathedral.
St Paul’s Cathedral has published a full funeral order of service.
Respect MP George Galloway has said he will try to block plans designed to allow MPs to attend Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.
Ministers want to cancel Prime Minister’s Questions and delay the start of parliamentary business – an approach backed by Labour.
Footages from Kim Jong-Il’s funerals showed an 8ft member of the North Korean armed forces towering beside his fellow soldiers in the driving snow.
Observers of how the country’s media covered Kim Jong Il’s funeral believe what we are in fact really seeing is a spot of Photoshopping.
The seemingly doctored photograph of the soldier, who appears to be well over 8ft tall, shows him in the back row of one block of mourners.
The image was captured as the funeral procession passed near the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in the capital Pyongyang.
Footages from Kim Jong-Il’s funerals showed an 8ft member of the North Korean armed forces towering beside his fellow soldiers in the driving snow
Official news agency KCNA took the photo, and the giant soldier appears to be shown from several different angles. This has led some to say that the photo has not be manipulated.
Others believe it could be 7ft 8in tall North Korean basketball star Ri Myung Hun, dubbed Michael Ri for his prowess on the court.
The discovery of the giant follows evidence from this week showing how the scores of wailing mourners were not the only well-choreographed aspect at the memorial service.
Two comparison photos showed how a camera crew filming the sombre ceremony were apparently erased from history after being digitally removed from the picture.
Live footage from the North Korean capital is rarely seen outside of the insular communist dictatorship.
The tightly stage-managed two-day funeral seemed to be a message from the country’s ruling family that they remain in tight control despite the death of their figurehead.
There has been no explanation for the apparent omission from within North Korea since the funeral.
However, a note released by Reuters describing the previous doctored images said: “This combination picture of two handout images from KCNA shows a limousine with a portrait of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il leading his funeral procession in Pyongyang December 28, 2011.
“In the top picture released by Kyodo, a group of men is seen on the left side of the picture. In the bottom picture which was sent directly to Reuters by KCNA, the group is missing.
“Reuters now believes the bottom picture was altered by KCNA.”
North Korea has started the two-day funeral services for late leader Kim Jong-Il with a huge procession in the capital, Pyongyang.
Television footages showed tens of thousands of soldiers with their heads bowed as a giant portrait of Kim Jong-Il was carried slowly through the streets.
Kim Jong-Il’ successor and third son, Kim Jong-Un, walked beside the hearse, images from state television showed.
Kim Jong-Il died of a heart attack on 17 December, aged 69, state media said.
He has been lying in state for the past 10 days.
No schedule was released ahead of the commemorations and no foreign delegations are attending.
Observers said the ceremonies echoed the displays of pomp and military might that marked the death of Kim Jong-Il’s father, Kim Il-Sung, in 1994.
Kim Jong-Un – who is thought to be in his late 20’s and who has little political experience – was shown weeping beside the hearse as it drove through the snowy capital.
He was accompanied by his uncle, Chang Song-Taek, who is expected to be a key player as the younger Kim consolidates power.
Ri Yong-Ho, the army chief, also accompanied the hearse as it drove past ranks of troops.
North Korea has started the two-day funeral services for late leader Kim Jong-Il with a huge procession in the capital, Pyongyang
The three-hour funeral procession was led by a limousine bearing a huge portrait of a smiling Kim Jong-Il. The coffin was draped in a red flag and surrounded by white flowers.
As it passed by, crowds of mourners wailed and flailed their arms as soldiers struggled to keep them from spilling into the road.
One soldier interviewed by North Korean state television said: “The snow is endlessly falling like tears. How could the sky not cry when we’ve lost our general who was a great man from the sky? As we’re separated from the general by death, people, mountains and sky are all shedding tears of blood. Dear Supreme Commander!”
The procession was broadcast live on state television. When it ended outside Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Memorial Palace, state TV began broadcasting documentaries about Kim Jong-Il’s life.
Kim Jong-Il’s body had previously lain in state in a glass coffin at the palace.
Observers are keenly watching the line-up over the two-day funeral to see which officials are in prominent positions.
Kim Jong-Il – known in North Korea as the “Dear Leader” – was in the process of formalizing Kim Jong-Un as his successor when he died. However, the transition was not complete, leaving regional neighbors fearful of a power struggle in the nuclear-armed pariah state.
North Korea’s reluctance to open up the funeral ceremony to foreign delegations may signal that those hierarchies have not yet been fully agreed.
In the week since Kim Jong-Il died, state media has called Kim Jong-Un the “Great Successor” and referred to him as the leader of the military and the party.
Commemorations are expected to continue on Thursday, with a three-minute silence at noon local time (03:00 GMT), followed by trains and ships sounding horns. The national memorial service will then begin.
The inter-Korean Kaesong industrial park has been closed for two days for the mourning following a North Korean request, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports.