(The Hill) – World leaders began arriving in London this weekend to attend the state funeral service of the late Queen Elizabeth II Monday at Westminster Abbey in London. 

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden were among hundreds of world leaders paying their respects to the monarch as she lies in state.

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska met with the Royal Family as her country’s representative, the BBC reports.

Controversial invites were also extended to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, though the BBC reports neither is expected to attend.

However, not all world leaders made the invite list. Leaders of these countries will not be joining Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral service.

Russia and Belarus

Russia and Belarus were both sanctioned earlier this year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The U.K. slapped sanctions on Russia as part of efforts by the West to isolate Moscow and hurt the country’s economy. Neighboring Belarus was also targeted because of actions by its leader, President Alexander Lukashenko, to facilitate Russia’s war on Ukraine.

A spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry called the lack of an invite for Russian President Vladimir Putin”profoundly immoral,” according to the U.K.’s Sky News.

Syria and Venezuela

Syria and Venezuela didn’t receive invites because they don’t have full diplomatic relations with the U.K., according to Reuters

The UK closed its embassy in Syria in 2011 and was one of the first countries to recognize its opposition as the legitimate representative of Syria’s people.

In 2019, the U.K. joined the U.S. in recognizing opposition figure Juan Guaidó as the leader of Venezuela, refusing to recognize President Nicolás Maduro, who remains in office.


The Taliban has struggled to gain any international recognition since its takeover last year, blaming the U.S. for being the “biggest hurdle” to diplomatic legitimacy.

The U.K. ambassador to the U.N. said last month that “the situation in Afghanistan remains critical” and that “the human rights situation is stark.”


The U.K. announced new sanctions against Myanmar earlier this year, part of a coordinated action with the U.S. and Canada to punish the country’s military regime after it took power in a violent coup last year.

Ambassadors only: North Korea, Nicaragua and Iran

North Korea, Nicaragua and Iran were permitted to send ambassadors, but not their heads of state, according to the Telegraph — meaning North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi are among the uninvited heads of state.

The U.K. last year joined with other Western powers to condemn North Korea for its human rights violations and weapons of mass destruction programs, calling the country “one of the most repressive and totalitarian regimes in the world.” In June, the U.K. criticized China and Russia for vetoing new United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

After last year’s elections in Nicaragua, the U.K. government condemned the process as “neither free, nor fair” and expressed concern for “the deterioration of political and human rights” in the country. The government sanctioned a number of high-ranking Nicaraguan politicians and officials following the election.

The U.K. reports having a “sizeable Iranian population” within its borders and, along with much of the West, has long been wary of Iran’s nuclear operations. The British ambassador to the U.N. in June called Iran’s nuclear situation “a threat to international peace and security.”