Saudi Arabia's crown prince to miss queen's funeral

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony for the 95th batch of cadets from the King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 23, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is no longer expected to attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral on Monday, a British foreign office source said on Sunday, contrary to Britain's earlier expectations that he would.

Saudi Arabia would be represented instead by Prince Turki bin Mohammed al Saud, the source said. Prince Turki is a minister of state and has been a member of the cabinet since 2018. He is the grandson of late King Fahd and part of the new generation that has been brought to power by Prince Mohammed.

The change was made by Saudi Arabia, the source added.

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Britain has invited heads of state from its allies to attend, but it is up to those nations who to send.

Saudi representation at the funeral has been closely watched for any signs of a further thaw in a diplomatic chill Western countries imposed on Prince Mohammed after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic, that U.S. intelligence says was approved by the crown prince.

He has denied any role in the killing. In 2020, Saudi Arabia jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for Khashoggi's murder.

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Reporting by William James and Aziz El Yaakoubi, Editing by William Maclean, Paul Sandle and Alison Williams

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