George HW Bush funeral: Leaders arrive to pay respects


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Media captionA look back at the life of George Bush Senior

World leaders and dignitaries are in the US capital Washington DC to pay their respects at the state funeral of former President George HW Bush.

The body of Mr Bush, which has been lying in state at the US Capitol, is being moved to the National Cathedral for the funeral.

His son, ex-President George W Bush, will deliver one of the eulogies.

Mr Bush senior, who served as the 41st US president between 1989 and 1993, died on Friday at the age of 94.

He will be buried in his home state of Texas, alongside his wife Barbara.

What will happen at the funeral?

The invitation-only funeral will begin at the Washington National Cathedral at 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT).

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Media captionFormer President George W Bush cuddled a baby who was among the crowd at the Capitol

President Donald Trump, and predecessors Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will all attend the service.

The Prince of Wales, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jordan’s King Abdullah II are among the world figures there to pay their respects.

Former leaders, including John Major, who was UK prime minister for most of Mr Bush’s term, will also attend.

“You’ll see a lot of joy,” Ron Kaufman, who worked as Mr Bush’s political director, said of the funeral.

“It’ll show the way of life that people took for granted in many ways and now kind of long for,” he told Reuters.

Wednesday has been declared a national day of mourning – many government offices and US stock exchanges are closed.

After the funeral, Mr Bush’s body will be flown to Texas, where it will lie in public repose until Thursday morning.

There will be a second service before the Bush 4141 – a train which was named in honour of the president – takes his body to its final resting place at the George HW Bush presidential library.

Jim McGrath, who was Mr Bush’s spokesman, said the president had once wondered if anyone would attend his funeral.

Who was Bush Sr and what is his legacy?

George HW Bush was a decorated fighter pilot in World War Two, a head of the CIA and vice-president to Ronald Reagan before being elected president in 1988.

His time in office was dominated by foreign policy – and he was praised for how he navigated the end of the Cold War, and handled the first Gulf War.

However, he was accused of neglecting domestic affairs and, after reneging on a campaign promise not to increase taxes, lost to Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election.

He has been described as a bipartisan figure who tried to make conservatism “kinder and gentler”.

Mr Trump has in the past clashed with the Bush family – and Mr Bush told a historian he voted for Mr Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Mr Bush’s former White House press secretary, Marlin Fitzwater, told Reuters: “It’s important for our presidents to pay respect to each other and I’m glad President Trump will be there.”



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