Emperor, Empress depart for U.K. to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

The Emperor and Empress depart Haneda Airport for London on Saturday.

The Emperor and Empress departed Haneda Airport in Tokyo for Britain aboard a government plane Saturday to attend the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II.

It is the first time for the Imperial couple to visit another country since the Emperor ascended to the throne.

At 10:15 a.m., the Imperial couple was seen off by their 20-year-old daughter Princess Aiko at the entrance of their living quarters at the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor told her, “Off I go.”

At the airport, the Emperor and Empress bowed in gratitude toward Crown Prince and Princess Akishino, who saw them off, and others, and then departed the airport shortly after 11 a.m.

The Imperial couple is scheduled to arrive in London on Saturday afternoon local time, and will attend the queen’s funeral on Monday at Westminster Abbey. They will return to Japan on Tuesday afternoon.

This is the Emperor’s first overseas trip since 2018, when he visited France. For the Empress, this is her first overseas trip since 2015, when she visited Tonga.