President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the UK from 17 - 20 September 2022 to attend the State Funeral Service of The Late Queen Elizabeth II.
On Sunday, 18 September, the President accompanied by the First Lady Prof Maithree Wickramasinghe and High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom Saroja Sirisena attended the Lying-in-State of the Late Queen at the Palace of Westminster which was followed by a Reception hosted by His Majesty King Charles III at the Buckingham Palace.
The President and the First Lady attended the State Funeral Service held at the Westminster Abbey on Monday, 19 September. The event was attended by around two thousand guests including world leaders, royalty, representatives of Her Majesty’s Patronages, public representatives. On the same day, President Wickremesinghe signed the Book of Condolence. The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP hosted a reception for the visiting world leaders at the Church House.
President Wickremesinghe also met representatives of the British Sri Lankan community in the United Kingdom at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London. He remembered the special affection the Queen Elizabeth II had towards Sri Lanka as the Head of the Commonwealth and the longest serving Head of State of Ceylon for 20 years prior to the nation becoming a Republic, and stated that her passing is the end of an era. He added that Sri Lanka is proud of its diaspora. He congratulated the British Sri Lankan community for making a mark in every field of the UK economy such as trading, services, business, and requested them to come together as Sri Lankans and people of Sri Lankan origin to help build our motherland. President Wickremesinghe informed the gathering of the proposed Office for people of Sri Lankan origin and invited their investments in projects in Sri Lanka. He stated that already there are proposals to establish non-profit making universities in Jaffna and Colombo. The President added that Sri Lanka is looking at transforming its economy to a competitive export oriented one to meet the current challenges and to build up social systems and modernise the education system.
On 20 September, the President met the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC. They discussed Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Commonwealth Secretariat and matters of mutual interest. He also visited London Buddhist Vihara during which Ven Dr Bogoda Seelawimala, Chief Incumbent of the Vihara and the Chief Sanga Nayaka of Great Britain invoked blessings on the President and the people of Sri Lanka
High Commission of Sri Lanka
20 September 2022