Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attends state funeral in Italy but Rishi Sunak's snub sparks fury: 'Pathetic!'

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh

Sophie attends funeral of Giorgio Napolitano

Dorothy Reddin

By Dorothy Reddin

Published: 26/09/2023

- 12:08

The UK has been criticised for not sending a senior member of the Government to attend the funeral

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attended the state funeral of Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's former President, in Rome today, as a representative from the British Royal Family.

The Duchess arrived at the Palazzo Montecitorio wearing a black dress and a small diamond brooch in the shape of a rose.

Napolitano served as Italy's president from 2006 to 2015, and became the first president to ever be re-elected to office.

The late politician was in office for over nine years and four months, becoming the longest-serving president in the history of the Italian Republic.

WATCH: Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attends State Funeral of Giorgio Napolitano

The Duchess of Edinburgh, 58, represented King Charles and the British Royal Family at Napolitano's funeral today, but there were no representatives from the UK Government.

Some social media user expressed their disappointed that Rishi Sunak did not send a high-profile Government member to accompany the royal.

One wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: "It's now the funeral of Italy's longest-serving president, Napolitano and the UK Government of Rishi Sunak sends the Duchess of Edinburgh!

"How pathetic is that? Not even a senior minister, the Foreign Secretary or a senior royal.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh wore a simple black dress


Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh

Sophie wore a small diamond rose brooch


"This is pathetic by the UK Government. Both Macron and the President of Germany are there."

The 58-year-old royal sat in the front row at the funeral of President Napolitano.

She was accompanied by other Heads of State and members of the Napolitano family.

A royal watcher posted on X: "What you see with Prince Edward and Sophie is what you get. Loyalty and steadfastness."

Queen Elizabeth II and Giorgio Napolitano

Queen Elizabeth II with Giorgio Napolitano and his wife in 2011


Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron attended the state funeral


Napolitano was the first exponent of the Italian Communist Party to hold the highest state office in Italy.

He died on Friday, September 22, 2023, at the age of 98.

Italy’s senior leaders paid their respects on Sunday, as the coffin of the former president was placed in the Palazzo Madama for a lying-in-state period.

In addition, Pope Francis paid his respects to Napolitano on Sunday.

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