Published On: Mon, Sep 30th, 2019

World leaders gather for Chirac funeral – full military honours for former French leader | World | News

Emmanuel Macron cut a solemn figure as he presided over the ceremony near the site of Napoleon’s tomb in the courtyard of Les Invalides. A military band played La Marseillaise, before Mr Macron inspected the troops. Mr Chirac’s coffin, covered with the French tricolor flag, was then carried to the centre of the courtyard. Prince Edward and Mr Verhofstadt were pictured entering the service together with other international figures.

Mr Macron, who did not speak, also attended a memorial service at the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris alongside dozens of French politicians and foreign officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, former US president Bill Clinton, former German chancellor Gerhard Schroder and Jordan’s King Abdallah II.

A private burial will take place later at the Montparnasse cemetery.

A private family church service for Mr Chirac was held before the military tribute and a minute’s silence was being held in schools and public buildings across the country on France’s national day of mourning for its former leader.

Mr Chirac served as Paris mayor, a politician, prime minister and France’s president from 1995 to 2007.

The last French head of state to complete two terms in office, Mr Chirac died on Thursday aged 86 after years of ill health.

Known for championing the nation’s sense of its own grandeur, Mr Chirac is being remembered fondly despite political failures and a 2011 corruption conviction from actions during his nearly two decades as mayor of Paris.

As president from 1995-2007, he was a consummate global diplomat but failed to reform the French economy or defuse tensions between police and minority youths that exploded into riots across France in 2005.

Thousands of mourners paid tribute on Sunday at Les Invalides, where his body lay in state ahead of today’s memorial service.

People also gathered early outside the Church of Saint-Sulpice to pay their respects.

Mourner Nadine Prevost said: “He was a great man who had an absolute fantastic class in all circumstances.

“He knew how to speak to everyone with a simplicity and a grandeur and that’s what made for the richness of his contact.”

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