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European royals attend the state funeral of Kofi Annan

On Thursday, several royals and head of states attended the state funeral for Kofi Annan in Accra, Ghana.

Kofi Annan was the Secretary-General of the United Nations, holding the position from January 1997 to December 2006. Kofi Annan and the UN received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”. He died on 18th August in Switzerland at 80 years old after a short illness.

Among the head of states attending, three royals were also present. Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel represented the Dutch royal family. Princess Beatrix and Kofi Annan were very close, and Kofi Annan once said: “I think we have a bond that will last after my term of office as Secretary-General has ended. That’s how I would like to see it, and she feels the same way.”

Kofi Annan supported Princess Mabel and the Dutch royal family after the death of Princess Mabel’s husband Prince Friso in 2012. Kofi Annan and Princess Mabel were then working together as the Princess was the first Chief Executive Officer of The Elders while Kofi Annan was a chairman of the organisation. The Elders is a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights and was founded by Nelson Mandela. Princess Mabel stopped working for The Elders in 2012 after the death of her husband.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit was also present, representing the Norwegian royal family. The Crown Princess and Kofi Annan had met several times including when Kofi Annan received his Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. It was the Crown Princess first time attending the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. Kofi Annan was also committed to containing the spread of HIV in Africa which is also one of Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s main engagements as a UNAIDS Ambassador.

Many were surprised to see that no members of the Swedish royal family attended the state funeral. Kofi Annan’s wife Nane Annan is Swedish, and the Swedish royal family met several times with Kofi Annan. Crown Princess Victoria also works with the UN. King Carl-Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, and Prince Daniel all had meetings scheduled at the Palace on that day, so this explains why no one could attend.

The ceremony was held at the Accra International Conference Center and was attended by 6000 guests. Outside the conference centre, the service was followed by thousands of Ghanaians via large screens. Most of the inhabitants of Accra wore black clothes as a token of respect for Kofi Annan. After the ceremony, Kofi Annan was buried at the military cemetery Buma Camp during a private ceremony.