Horse trainer, wheelchair athlete to attend royal funeral

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Tuesday his official delegation to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral next week will include racehorse trainer Chris Waller and wheelchair tennis star Dylan Alcott.

Waller and Alcott are among 10 “everyday Australians” who will represent Australia at Monday’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London, Albanese said.

“It was a request from the palace that 10 everyday citizens who make contributions to the local communities be invited to the queen’s funeral,” Albanese told reporters in Canberra.

At least one Pacific neighbor leader, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, has accepted Australia’s offer of help to get to the funeral.

Australia is one of 11 British Commonwealth nations in the Oceania region, most of them tiny South Pacific islands.

Albanese hosted diplomats from 22 Commonwealth countries at his official residence on Tuesday to commemorate the late queen.

“All Commonwealth nations were invited to this reception and it was an opportunity for Commonwealth nations to express together our condolences, but also to celebrate the life and the sacrifice of Queen Elizabeth II, a life of service to the Commonwealth including to Australia,” Albanese said.