In a historic move by the UK government, Britain has asked South African officials for approval to hold a memorial service for former president, Nelson Mandela, at Westminster Abbey when the time comes. It would be the first for an African and non-British citizen.
Reports say that the Queen has also requested to attend such a memorial service should South Africa agree. Westminster Abbey officials have contacted South Africa with the request while acknowledging the sensitivity of the matter given that Mandela is still alive in hospital.
It is understood the officials were motivated by a request from the queen.
Westminster Abbey has been the coronation church of the British monarch since 1066 and the resting place of 17 royals. Head of communications at Westminster Abbey, Duncan Jeffery, has confirmed that the church has had preliminary discussions with the South African High Commission regarding such a service.