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World’s most powerful, including Joe Biden in cheap seats at Queen’s funeral

The late Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey was one of the largest gatherings of international royals since Queen Victoria’s funeral in 1901.

There were even double portions of monarchs from some countries. King Felipe of Spain and Queen Letizia were there with his father, former King Juan Carlos, and his mother, former Queen Sofia. The King and Queen of the Netherlands came with his mother, former Queen Beatrix, who abdicated in 2013.

Spain’s King Felipe VI was placed next to his father and exiled predecessor, former King Juan Carlos, at the Queen’s state funeral. Getty

Members of the Abbey’s European royal family were all connected to Queen Elizabeth. Queen Sofia of Spain was his third cousin and a first cousin once removed of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Most members of the royal family owe their connection to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Albert was keen to produce a large family of descendants sitting on the thrones of Europe through their nine children, eight of whom married into royal houses.

Like Queen Elizabeth II, Margrethe II of Denmark is a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, making them third cousins. Another third cousin of the Queen is King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, thanks to the Queen Victoria connection. The late Prince Philip was also a third cousin of the Queen, as another great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. King Harald of Norway is an even closer relative – a second cousin, sharing Edward VII and Queen Alexandra as great-grandparents.

Some monarchs present at the funeral were more distant relatives. Prince Albert of Monaco is the seventh cousin of Queen Elizabeth. Add to that the Sultan of Brunei, Emperor Naruhito of Japan, Sultan Haitham of Oman, the King of Malaysia and the King of Tonga – and it resulted in an extremely impressive line-up.

But if you compare the funeral of Elizabeth II to that of Queen Victoria, what is striking is the number of former monarchs and princes present at Westminster Abbey.

In 1901, the royal houses of Europe were in their splendor. Over the next 44 years, two world wars tore the continent apart, ripping monarchs from their thrones. In 1901 Queen Victoria was placed in her coffin by her sons Edward VII and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, and her grandson William II, German Emperor and King of Prussia. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was also present at Queen Victoria’s funeral.

His assassination in 1914 sparked the start of World War I and the beginning of the end for the German Emperor, now at war with his cousin George V. In 1918 he abdicated and the German throne was no more. There were plenty of royal Germans at Elizabeth II’s funeral – including Prince Bernhard of Baden – but they now live in a republic. Also in 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, another cousin of George V, was assassinated, a year after being ousted from power during the Russian Revolution.

Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. John Sibley/Pool Photo via AP

Time and time again at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral you have seen descendants of fallen monarchs. There was Crown Prince Pavlos, eldest son of Constantine II, last king of Greece from 1964 to 1973. There was Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, 47, grandson of Umberto II, last king of Italy, expelled in 1946.

Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia was at the abbey. Her father was the last King of Yugoslavia when the monarchy was abolished in 1945. There was also Margareta, daughter of Michael I of Romania, forced to abdicate in 1947. Tsar Simeon II of the Bulgarians, there at the funeral, sat on the throne – but was removed from it in 1946, when he was just nine years old.

Considering all that carnage and all those empty thrones, Elizabeth II was an extraordinary survival. As French President Emmanuel Macron said last week: “For you, she was your queen. For us, she was the queen. Yes, there are other kings and queens. But none of them had the extraordinary endurance of Elizabeth II, on the throne for more than 70 years.

It helped that the British Monarchy was on the winning side of both world wars – and that we were the ‘good guys’ both times. But World War II ended more than 77 years ago. There’s a big reason the British Monarchy is still thriving like no other – and we’ve duly commemorated it at its funeral.